Los Angeles Lakers training camp is underway as they prepare for the 2019-2020 NBA season and we are already hearing plenty of great things about them.
The defense has been the focal point so far, which fits not only head coach Frank Vogel’s reputation but also the personnel that has been assembled.
On this episode of the Lakers Nation Podcast, host Trevor Lane takes a look at the latest news coming out of camp. Who has impressed and what might that mean for the rotation?
For example, the early word has been that Rajon Rondo has spent some time running with the starting unit and Vogel has envisioned him playing off the ball alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. However, is that really the best fit for the Lakers or even the best fit for Rondo?
Vogel compared Rondo to assistant coach Jason Kidd’s final seasons of his career when he transitioned into being a spot-up three-point shooter. The problem is that Kidd turned into not just a reliable shooter but also still maintained some value as a defender as he aged. Rondo has largely struggled on the defensive side of the ball and opposing teams haven’t shown much respect for his three-point shooting, robbing the Lakers of any floor spacing that his surprisingly solid percentages would normally yield.
Perhaps this is a conclusion that Vogel will eventually settle upon, particularly since Rondo’s playmaking theoretically has more value with James off the floor. If Rondo doesn’t start, Alex Caruso could potentially get the nod, though he has largely run with the second unit thus far in camp. It is noteworthy that Vogel has deployed the 6’5″ Caruso as both a point guard and shooting guard.
Avery Bradley has turned heads with his defensive play to the point where Vogel has had to tell Lakers players not to dribble in front of him. On a team so focused on defense, is it possible that Bradley’s defense makes him a must-start for Vogel?
Plus, the Lakers have done the right thing by keeping DeMarcus Cousins in the fold despite his likely season-ending ACL tear injury. While decisions like that may appear to be trivial on the surface, the goodwill that’s fostered when a team does right by a player can pay dividends down the road.
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