Lakers Will Miss Rondo But Could Have Waiters In the Wings
July 23, 2020
by Nick Hamilton (@NickHamiltonLA)
The Lakers suffered a tough blow when the team received the news that guard Rajon Rondo suffered a fractured thumb during practice last Sunday evening. The Lakers were already without guard Avery Bradley who opted out from joining the team due to health concerns, now they look to the next man up in order to complete their quest of obtaining a 17th championship.
"Losing Rajon is a huge loss for our team, but we expect Rajon to be part of our playoff run," head coach Frank Vogel said on a zoom conference call on Monday.
The team announced that Rondo's injury would require surgery and he is expected to be out of action for about 6-8 weeks. He could return around the second round of the playoffs, but teammate Danny Green believes Rondo will always be with the team.
Green expects Rondo to be "coaching his (blank) off" while watching the team from afar during recovery. Green referred to Rondo as floor general on and off the floor and is extremely valuable to the team that looks to him for guidance at times. "I know he'll be on the sideline for us, teaching us and letting the young guys know what he sees and what adjustments we need to make," Green said.
As the Lakers searched for a secondary ball handler and someone to be strong on the wing, Green is confident in the abilities of Dion Waiters, J.R. Smith, himself, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso and Quinn Cook. "Kentavious Caldwell-Pope did a phenomenal job early when Avery was injured this season," Vogel said. "That's really where I'm at in terms of what the starting lineup is going to look like, with him being in that slot."
Rondo missed the 2018-19 with a similar injury and underwent two surgeries to repair a fracture in his right hand, and a torn ligament in his right ring finger.
One player that everyone should pay attention to is Waiters, due to him being an intense prolific scorer and his ability to handle the ball well. With his skills set, Waiters would be most effective with the second unit with guys like Caruso, Smith, Dwight Howard and Cook."Dion and J.R. have been shooting the ball well," Green said of Waiters. "The guys are looking good. Nobody is out of shape. They're looking good, doing well, and learning the system pretty quickly."
With a few practices under their belt, this team has been tested in many scenarios not only throughout the season, but during this restart that could prove effective down the stretch and carry them to the top