2019-20 Lakers Season Preview: Rajon Rondo
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

2018-19 NBA Season Review

Rajon Rondo signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018 NBA free agency shortly after they signed LeBron James. The Lakers believed Rondo would be a good veteran presence for the locker room and a mentor for Lonzo Ball, who was entering his second season in the league. Due to Ball’s offseason injury that required surgery, Rondo was the team’s starting point guard, but quickly lost the job.

Despite that, Rondo ended up playing a huge role for the Lakers. While Rondo missed 46 games due to injury, he averaged nearly 30 minutes per game. In that time, he averaged 9.2 points, 8.0 assists, and 5.3 rebounds. The stats from Rondo — as well as his relationship with the front office and players — gave the Lakers motivation to re-sign him on a two-year, minimum deal the following free agency.

However, Rondo certainly had his issues on the court. He shot just 40.5% from the field, which was his lowest percentage in six seasons. He also played next to zero defense, something that former head coach Luke Walton spent his entire time with the Lakers attempting to preach. Rondo’s pinnacle last season came when he hit a game-winning buzzer-beater against the Boston Celtics in Boston.

2019-20 NBA Season Outlook

Unlike last season when Rondo would only start if Ball was injured, the point guard position is much more up in the air. Despite that, it would be unlikely to see Rondo start right off the bat for the Lakers. He may get a few games as the team’s starting point guard but with Alex Caruso, Avery Bradley, and Quinn Cook (who are all better defenders), head coach Frank Vogel could go in a much different direction.

Still, Rondo can make an impact off the bench. In a limited role (10-15 minutes), Rondo can still bring his leadership and high basketball IQ to the game. If Rondo wants even that, he will have to improve his effort on the defensive end as well as get his field goal percentage back up (44-45%).

Walton’s coaching staff absolutely loved Rondo, but it is yet to be known how Vogel feels about him. The fans will learn pretty quickly based on who the Opening Night starter is when the Lakers take on the Los Angeles Clippers.