After signing LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers took an unconventional route to fill in their roster around him by adding Michael Beasley, JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson. The approach flew in the face of teams historically surrounding James with knockdown shooters.
Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka dismissed any concern over the perceived lack of floor-spacers. They touted their group of versatile ballhandlers and expressed confidence in the likes of Lonzo Ball, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma being proficient behind the arc.
While suspensions and injuries could be blamed in some regard, the Lakers predictably have not been a strong shooting team. They were particularly ineffective in Thursday’s loss to the Toronto Raptors, going just 7-for-31 (22.6 percent) from deep.
Rondo did not attempt a 3-pointer in the loss, but still had an astute observation of the Lakers’ struggles, via Bill Oram of The Athletic:
Rajon Rondo was very thoughtful on the Lakers season-long struggles from 3, including this gem: "At the end of the day shooters shoot and shooters make shots. No — shooters shoot. Shot makers make shots." LAL was 7-of-31 from 3 tonight.
— Bill Oram (@billoram) March 15, 2019
While each of Rondo’s 10 field goal attempts were inside the arc, he’s but six games removed from shooting a career-high 12 3-pointers. The Milwaukee Bucks dared the veteran point guard to beat them from deep, and he certainly was willing to oblige.
Lakers head coach Luke Walton did not fault Rondo for his excessive number of attempts, citing many of them coming in the flow of the offense. When asked about the outlier performance, Rondo deadpanned, ‘Shooters shoot. I was open, so I had to shoot it.’
The Lakers as a team rank 29th in the NBA in three-point shooting at 33.2 percent.