After Lonzo Ball missed 30 games due to injuries during the 2017-18 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers struggled without him until head coach Luke Walton made Brandon Ingram the starting point guard.
While Ingram showed he is a capable ball-handler, the Lakers somewhat surprisingly signed Rajon Rondo to a one-year, $9 million contract.
That was seemingly instead of potentially re-signing Isaiah Thomas. Rondo has similar characteristics to Ball and is expected to be his mentor.
Heading into training camp, there will be an open competition for the team’s starting lineup outside of LeBron James.
As Rondo has started 697 out of his 779 games, he was asked about the possibility of backing up Ball, and the 32-year-old reiterated his focus is on doing what’s best for the team, via TMZ Sports:
“Whatever they ask me. My main objective is to win. I’m here to help develop Lonzo as much as possible. If I’m not starting and he’s starting, he’s going to be ready to go and ready for anybody that comes his way. And we’ll be ready to roll.”
Although there is a certain perception about Rondo, it appears he is prepared for any role at this stage of his career. As Ball averaged 34.2 minutes in his rookie season, Rondo will be ready to play significant minutes if the 20-year-old gets into foul trouble or unfortunately cannot overcome injuries.
For Ball, having a four-time All-Star push him in practice should help him take the next step in his development. Despite all the talk about Ball’s shooting percentages and injuries, he still averaged 10.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 7.2 assists en route to NBA All-Rookie Second Team honors.