The Los Angeles Lakers got back on track with their dominant 113-97 win over the Miami Heat. LeBron James’ 51-point performance is rightfully getting all of the attention, but there was another influence for the Lakers as injured point guard Rajon Rondo was back on the bench.
Rondo, of course, broke his hand last week and underwent surgery to repair the fracture. He is expected to miss at least a month while he recovers, but that doesn’t mean he can’t still help the Lakers.
As James noted, via Spectrum SportsNet, just having Rondo around the team makes a difference:
“It means everything. He’s a coach on and off the floor for us. To have his presence means everything.”
Head coach Luke Walton would even take the idea of Rondo as a coach to the next level, allowing him inside the coaches’ huddle during the game, provided Rondo followed one specific rule:
“He likes to talk. We made a rule tonight. He’s welcome in the coaches’ huddle but he’s not allowed to talk. He did pretty good with it, he had some suggestions. It was really nice having him with the group. He did bring some great energy to our team, being on the bench and the way he talks to all his teammates.”
Per the rule Walton set, Rondo bluntly shared how it was conveyed to him, via ESPN’s Rachel Nichols:
“Yeah, he told me to shut the [expletive] up.”
As one of the smartest players to ever step foot on an NBA floor, Rondo helping out with the coaches makes perfect sense and allows him to continue to assist the young Lakers.
Coming into this season one big question was how Walton would be able to handle strong personalities such as James and Rondo who aren’t too much younger than him. So far, Walton has had no issues speaking up to them, which is a great sign moving forward.