Rajon Rondo had his fair share of issues with the Celtics, Mavericks, Kings and Bulls, but he revived his career with the Pelicans as a veteran leader next to Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis. The return of “Playoff Rondo” this past season provided a reminder of just how effective the assist machine can be when he avoids drama.
Still, it’s hard to avoid the questions about Rondo’s past chemistry issues after he signed with the Lakers ahead of the 2018-19 season. All eyes will be focused on LeBron James and an interesting crew of characters, and Rondo’s relationships with his teammates, particularly fellow guard Lonzo Ball, could make a huge difference in how quickly the franchise is able to transition from rebuilding to contending.
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So far, so good. Rondo and Ball will be competing for the starting job, but that doesn’t mean Rondo sees Ball as a rival. He wants to help the former UCLA star get his “game up to speed at a high level,” and he reiterated that point in a recent interview with TMZ Sports.
“Whatever they ask me, you know, my main objective is to win,” Rondo said. “I’m ready to help develop Lonzo as much as possible. If I’m not starting and he’s starting, he’s going to be ready to go and ready for anybody that comes his way. And we’ll be ready to roll.”
Rondo certainly has an advantage when it comes to NBA experience. He has started nearly 90 percent of his games in the regular season (697 of 779) and all of his playoff games (105). But it wouldn’t look great for team president Magic Johnson if head coach Luke Walton sits the “new face of the Lakers” on the bench.
And playing Rondo and Ball together seems questionable at best considering their similar skill sets and inconsistent outside shooting. The winning move could be starting Rondo, but that would fuel speculation and rumors about Ball’s status with the team.
Lakers fans will soon find out whether it’s Rondo or Ball running up and down the floor with James to start the season. For now, Rondo is doing his best to remove any unnecessary distractions.
“As a whole, as a team, I’m looking forward to getting together with all the young guys, and even the older guys,” Rondo said, “and putting our minds together to figure out the best way to get W’s.”