Lakers Season in Review: KCP, Stephenson, Rondo, Beasley

Mar 31, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers gaurd Rajon Rondo (9) drives with the ball against the New Orleans Pelicans during the first quarter at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

After the July 1st acquisition of LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers had the task of filling out the roster. As we know how the season turned out, the front office failed spectacularly. The Lakers failed to build a roster that had any modicum of analytics behind it.

The front office let Julius Randle and Brook Lopez walk so let’s take a look at some of the players that they brought in to replace them.

Rajon Rondo

LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 20: Rajon Rondo #9 of the Los Angeles Lakers punches Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets as referee Matt Boland tries to break it up during the Lakers’ home opener against the Houston Rockets at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Saturday, October 20, 2018. The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Houston Rockets 124-115. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

The former Boston Celtic gave the Lakers fits during his tenure with other teams. On July 2nd, after years of rumors that he’d be joining the purple and gold, the Lakers signed the veteran point guard. Originally brought in to act as the de-facto mentor for Lonzo Ball, Rondo found himself playing more minutes due to injuries. Of course, the former Kentucky point guard had issues of his own that kept him off of the court.

Mired with the early season suspension and hand injuries as the campaign progressed, Rondo played 46 games for the 2018-2019 season. He averaged 9.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and eight assists per game while shooting 41% from the field and 35.9% (4th best on the team) from beyond the arc.

Many have speculated that he would return due to the fact that he is a veteran leader for the squad. That is invaluable. But what he does on the court is less than stellar. While on the court, the Lakers have a 112.8 defensive rating with only a 104.4 offensive rating.  Sure he may be racking up assists but for the most part, it looks like he is assist hunting, killing any sort of flow there was to the offense. Defensively he had a few steals here and there, but that’s all he contributed. He was just hunting for steals.

With how Alex Caruso played towards the end of the season, many have wondered what would have been the case if the bald eagle was on the floor instead of Rondo. If the Lakers are smart (they’re not), Rajon Rondo will not be on the court for LeBron’s second year with the purple and gold.

Michael Beasley

Jan 9, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Bullock (25) is guarded by Los Angeles Lakers forward Michael Beasley (11) during the first half at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Beasley had a tenuous tenure with the Lakers by no fault of his. Beasley was only with the Lakers until the trade deadline before going to the Clippers and getting waived. He was only with the team for 26 games, due to personal matters, averaging seven points per game shooting 49% from the field and less than half (!!!!!) of his career 3-point percentage at around 17.6 percent.

The acquisition of Beasley during the offseason made sense at the time. He was a bench scorer on the Knicks averaging 13.2 points per game in 22 minutes with the Knicks – a decent pickup for someone closer to the end of the rotation.

The mindset that the Lakers had said for signing Beasley was not entirely…….there. According to reports, the front office had the idea that Beasley could replace Julius Randle. There were also reports of discourse between Beasley and former head coach Luke Walton.

Unfortunately, due to myriad issues, Beasley could not contribute much to the Lakers.

Lance Stephenson

Jan 6, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton talks with guard Lance Stephenson (6) during the second quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

I’ll try to keep this unbiased as possible as I do have issues with Lance Stephenson due to personal background. That being said, he sucked and I don’t understand why he’s the darling of NBA Twitter.

Anyway! We’ve gone on to speak about how the last offseason was a disaster and this was a player pickup that I felt did not make much sense. Ironically, Stephenson was one of the best shooters that the Lakers had, shooting 37% (2nd best behind……Alex Caruso???) from beyond the arc. He averaged 8.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game on the season.

Stephenson peaked early having his best game against Phoenix on October 24th, where he had 23 points, eight assists and eight rebounds. As one of the “playmakers” that Magic Johnson brought in to help out the team, Stephenson did not have any games with more than those eight assists in that game in October.

During his entire time with the Lakers, Stephenson did not have a month where he had a positive net rating. In October he surprisingly had a neutral 0.0 net rating; every month after that was negative, including a -17.1 during the month of February.

Off court issues aside, on the court, Stephenson looked erratic. He played hard, but that’s generally the extent of what you could say. He wasn’t the smartest person on the court and wasn’t particularly good at anything except his low-volume shooting.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 14: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope #1 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots the ball against the Portland Trail Blazers on November 14, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

If there’s one thing the Lakers can say to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, it’s “Thank You”. The Klutch connection is a part of how LeBron James became a Laker and the Lakers gave him a 12.5 million dollar deal because of that.

KCP was the only Laker to play 82 games this season. And in those 82 games, he averaged 11.4 points and 3.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 34.5% from 3-point range.

As the year went on, KCP found himself starting the games on the bench, not really finding his role. He should’ve been the 3 and D guy that the Lakers needed and for a time he was.  In December, KCP had a net 2.6 rating despite having a 110.1 defensive rating while also shooting 41% from 3-point range on five attempts per game.

As the year went on and injuries got worse for the team, KCP started to shoot more and by the time the Lakers were out of playoff contention, he was averaging 37 minutes a game during the month of April.

For a player who is seemingly playing for his next contract, KCP shot a staggering 22.6 times a game in the last 5 games of the season.

For a cheaper price would he be a good addition to the team next year? We shall see what happens this offseason.

Author: Kendrew

The Filipino guy

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