The Lakers are not having a fun time so far in the bubble, to say the least. Well, the team may be having fun off the court with their Madden tournaments, but they’re definitely not having fun in the seeding games where the Lakers are now 2-4. Their most recent loss came last night, as they lost to the red-hot Indiana Pacers led by bubble breakout star T.J. Warren. The team doesn’t really have many excuses that other teams don’t have in regards to weird practice times and the absence of fans, but they are without Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo who have both been key players in their rotations all season.
Avery Bradley is still set to miss the entire restart to the season due to personal reasons related to coronavirus, with Rondo missing the entire restart so far due to a broken hand injury he sustained in the first few practices there. He has just recently arrived in the Orlando bubble, with Chris Haynes of TNT/Yahoo Sports reporting that Rondo is still outside of the bubble but plans to re-join the Lakers soon. Haynes reports that the Lakers appear to have some increased optimism about Rondo’s timetable, saying this (h/t to Sabreena Merchant of Silver Screen & Roll for transcribing):
“Rajon Rondo arrived in Orlando this week, but he is outside the bubble. He is working diligently to get back. Sources have told me that the Lakers are hopeful that if Rondo continues rehab without any setbacks that he will possibly be able to re-enter the bubble at some point in the first round of the playoffs. As for now, sources say he is working out with Kurt Rambis, the Lakers’ senior basketball advisor.”
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) August 9, 2020
It’s hard to tell right now if the addition of Rajon Rondo would help, hurt, or do nothing for the Lakers. They’ve still been a great defensive team, with the addition of Rondo surely hurting that side of the floor in some sort of way. The Lakers are definitely struggling on the offensive side, an area where Rondo theoretically could help.
The thing is that the Lakers’ biggest concern right now is the lack of three-point shooting. Rondo will definitely not help there, as teams have not respected him beyond the arc all season. He would compound the shooting problem by taking away natural spacing from the Lakers.
It would be shocking to see Rondo available for games and for Frank Vogel to not play him. You’d have to assume that his return would cause the playing times for players like Quinn Cook and Talen Horton-Tucker to disappear. You never know though, as Vogel has varied his lineup decisions for the entirety of the bubble so far.