Assembling superteams is a thing that all NBA teams want to do. Some succeeded by winning championships, while others failed by not making the playoffs. And if you look back at history, you would know that the Los Angeles Lakers have gone through this path multiple times.
They once had a lineup that included Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Gary Payton, and Karl Malone. They also ran a lineup that had Bryant, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, and Steve Nash. The result: neither Lakers squad won a championship.
Looking at the potential roster of the 2021-2022 Lakers, some are worried. Having a stacked lineup that has LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, and Carmelo Anthony seems like a good problem to have, but the truth is, it’s also a huge gamble.
And if we believe the reports, the Lakers are not yet done building the roster for next season.
Rondo Joins A Loaded Backcourt
Rajon Rondo joined first joined the Lakers in 2019. He played a role in helping the Lakers win the team’s first championship since 2010. Incidentally, he also played in the 2010 NBA Finals as a member of the Boston Celtics.
After winning the 2020 championship, Rondo joined the Atlanta Hawks before getting to the other Los Angeles team. That squad failed to reach the NBA Finals. Again.
Rondo bounced from Los Angeles to the Memphis Grizzlies after a trade before agreeing to a buyout with Memphis.
And now, he’s back with the Lakers after signing a one-year deal.
With Rondo’s return, the Lakers’ backcourt has become more crowded.
Aside from Westbrook, Rondo would be joining Wayne Ellington, Kendrick Nunn, Wesley Matthews, Malik Monk, and Talen Horton-Tucker in the backcourt rotation. While Rondo seems like the ideal backup point guard to Westbrook, how will Coach Frank Vogel manage the minutes of the rest of the backcourt?
Not to mention the fact that Rondo is already 35. Being 35 makes him the ninth player the Lakers have that is 30 or above.
Rondo’s Old But Still Gold
One of the reasons Rajon Rondo is still relevant to today’s NBA is that he is one of the remaining point guards of the past. He dictates things by being the extension of a head coach on the court and not by shooting threes from anywhere. And yes, he has a way to get into your head.
Rondo is 35 years old but, he can still ball. He proved it during the 2020 playoffs inside the Orlando bubble. En route to his second NBA championship, Rondo averaged eight points, six assists, and 1.4 steals in 16 playoff games in 2020. He shot 45% from the field, including 40% from the three-point line. Those percentages will come in handy for a team that struggled from the three-point line during the 2020-2021 season.
More importantly, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Dwight Howard will get more of those lobs courtesy of Rajon Rondo as Rondo remains one of the best passers in the game.
As loaded as this Lakers squad is, there’s no assurance that they will go the distance. It now boils down to stays healthy the longest as it was the issue last season.
One thing is sure: Frank Vogel and his staff will have a full plate on hand in managing the rotation.