Of all of the signings the Los Angeles Lakers completed in free agency this summer, perhaps none was more surprising than the addition of veteran point guard Rajon Rondo.
After nine highly productive season with the Boston Celtics, Rondo was labeled as a personality problem due to bad years with the Dallas Mavericks and Sacramento Kings. However, his time with the New Orleans Pelicans saw Rondo start to return to his old form.
In his prime, Rondo was one of the game’s elite playmakers, and the Pelicans were able to recapture glimpses of that. Now, with the Lakers, Rondo may be forced to accept a role off the bench.
Although some thought the prospect of that would be a problem for Rondo, he’s openly stated he’s willing to accept anything that’s asked of him. It’s seemingly evidence of where Rondo believes his greatest improvement has come — leadership, via Lakers reporter Mike Trudell,:
“Every aspect of my game has gotten a lot better. As far as understanding the game, my knowledge of the game. But I think the biggest thing for me is just my growth as far as leadership. Being able to give as much knowledge as possible to the young guys, because that’s who I’ve been around the last five years of my career (in) Sacramento, Chicago, (and New Orleans). I believe everything in life happens for a reason. Me having great mentors that I had in Boston those five or six years, where it really was a pivotal part of my career, those guys helped me become the player I am today. It all kind of unfolds to today, me doing the same thing that was done for me.”
Being a leader will be extremely important to Rondo’s role with the Lakers. Off the court, it will be largely up to him to work with Lonzo Ball and shape the young point guard into an even better playmaker than he already is.
On the court, Rondo will simply have to do what he’s always done. Which is be a high-IQ leader that creates opportunities for his teammates to succeed. At age 32, Rondo’s best days are most likely behind him, but he can still make an immense impact for the Lakers as they move forward with their goal of winning a title.