The Los Angeles Lakers announced on Sunday evening that they expected Rajon Rondo to be sidelined for at least the next 6 to 8 weeks with a fractured right thumb that he suffered at the time. training earlier in the day.
Rondo has been the Lakers’ assistant leader for the past two seasons, and although his field production has been disappointing, he has been a great voice leader on the bench and in a conference call with reporters Monday, Danny Green said he expects Rondo to continue to be a dominant voice on the sidelines while he treats his injury.
“It’s never a good sign when some of your players are injured,” said Green. “When he is aggressive, he plays for us and our team, when he scores more than 10 points, you know the statistics, you know the record for us, so we need him to get out of the bench and give us a little spark. But I know he’ll be on the sidelines for us, training his ass and letting our young guys know – and also ‘Bron, myself and AD – what he sees and what adjustments we need to make. ”
Green said Rondo looked like he was in great shape, echoed feelings coach Frank Vogel.
“We were all very impressed with the appearance of his body,” said Vogel. “It was clear that he worked his tail in his forties to stay in top shape. “
If Rondo’s original schedule is true, the last one he’ll be back will be the NBA Playoffs second round. While much can change in two months, Vogel still expects Rondo to play a big role for the Lakers in the playoffs.
“Losing Rajon is a huge loss to our team, but we expect Rajon to be in our playoff series,” said Vogel, adding that even if Rondo would leave the bubble to have surgery and start rehabilitating, the Lakers expect to see him on the ground again.
“We are very confident that he will be able to come back and be a major factor in our playoff series,” said Vogel.
Until then, Vogel will be forced to work with what he has, and what he has is not bad.
While there is no one on the list who can do exactly what Rondo has done, they do have a few players on the list who are capable of putting the ball back, and Vogel is particularly interested in seeing what Dion Waiters can bring to the team in this role.
“It will take more in this regard [playmaking] Alex (Caruso) and Quinn Cook, “said Vogel. “We have the ability to use our big guys like Kuz, and in particular to have the ability to raise it and manage and initiate the offensive. But I also like the prospects of seeing what Dion Waiters can do.
“We have two great basketball players that we added at the end of our season who do different things, but just as important, with JR (Smith) who can shoot from the perimeter and be a great catch-and-shoot player , and Dion having the ability to make games out of the rebound. Losing Rondo puts more needs on Dion’s skills. I can’t wait to see what else he can do as the games approach, but all of these guys will take over. “
The servers have not played much in recent seasons due to a combination of injuries and suspensions, but when he has played he has shown that he can prolific bench scorer largely due to his ability to manage the ball. The most recent example came when the Miami Heat saw the Clippers in January.
In 17 minutes against the Clippers, Waiters scored 14 points, including eight points in the fourth quarter, out of 4-9 by shooting behind the arc. It was the first of three games he has played this season.
The extended wait time away from the court has raised concerns about his conditioning at the outset – so much so that the Lakers originally wanted to see him get representatives in the G League before he prepared for them . Now it looks like Waiters is up to the rest of the team.
“He looks pretty good,” said Green. “He and JR shot the ball well. The guys look good. No one is distorted. They look good, are doing well and learn the system fairly quickly. “
Green echoed that waiters can help fill the void left by Rondo due to his ability to handle the ball. However, in addition to the handles of the servers, it can shoot from almost anywhere on the floor. The same cannot be said of Rondo, who has only made 34.2% of his jump attempts this season, including 32.8% of his 3-point attempts.
The skills of the servers will allow him to play with a few different units, but he will be more useful in the second unit, where he will probably play next to Alex Caruso. After the year of Lakers fans, nothing would be better than watching Waiters and Caruso lock up Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams in the playoffs.
It may sound like a joke, but the two have had big games against the Clippers.
17 more days.
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