Rajon Rondo’s tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers has been fairly tumultuous. The veteran point guard is clearly not at the level he once was as a former All-Star and NBA champion. Still, his knowledge of the game and competitive attitude has been revered by his teammates and coaches and that has kept him on the floor for significant minutes when healthy.
Currently, that veteran savvy is being manifested in the form of some remote coaching. Rondo injured his hand early in the team’s training camp period in Orlando and had to leave the bubble for surgery. His absence has led to more playing time for recent acquisition Dion Waiters who has done an admirable job so far operating as a lead ball handler for bench lineups.
After a blowout loss to the Thunder on Wednesday in which Waiters had his worst game as a Laker so far, the former Miami Heat guard answered Silver Screen and Roll’s Christian Rivas’ question about Rondo’s role on the team by revealing that the two have been texting back and forth to help Waiters get acclimated to running the offense.
With news that Rajon Rondo will rejoin the team soon, I asked Dion Waiters what he thinks Rondo will bring to the second unit, and this was his response: pic.twitter.com/4xzGcRnIsk
— Christian Rivas (@RadRivas) August 6, 2020
So far in Orlando, Waiters has accumulated nine assists to five turnovers (four of which came in one game against the Jazz) and has scored in double digits in three out of the four games. His ability to run some offense has buoyed some bench lineups that are actually outperforming the starters, a trend that is a welcome change from the rest of the regular season. The Lakers’ offense as a whole has been horrendous in their four games in Orlando but that seems to be more of a case of awful shooting than poor play. You can see more of Waiters contributions alongside Kyle Kuzma and Alex Caruso in our video here.
Frank Vogel will have a tough decision to make once Rondo is back; he has traveled to Florida already and will enter the bubble “very soon,” according to his coach though he still has some time to go before he is cleared to play. Waiters is still a questionable and sometimes chaotic entity despite giving the Lakers more shot-making ability than Rondo and being a better-than-expected pest on the defensive end. Rondo, as maligned as he has been over the last two years, is more of a proven commodity and the Lakers know exactly what they will get out of him for better or for worse. Fortunately, the communication between the two veteran guards should make a seamless transition between them no matter who Vogel ultimately opts to reward with the reigns to the offense.