Los Angeles Lakers: How Rajon Rondo will kill any NBA Finals chances

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Lakers
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Alex Caruso played himself right back into the rotation against Denver. Where does that leave Rondo?

Against the Nuggets, the stars will get the lion’s share of the credit for the win. But it was the 2-way play of Dwight Howard and Alex Caruso who came up with huge plays on both ends of the floor that helped change the game. How huge was the Caruso impact?

The Lakers Net Rating with Caruso on/off the court vs the Nuggets.

  • On Court (22 min): +50.2 net rating
  • Off Court (31 min): -32.1 net rating

Head coach Frank Vogel made sure that Howard and Caruso’s effort was documented for the record, via Spectrum SportsNet.

"“I think Dwight and Alex really gave us a lift. Dwight with his matchup on The Joker… the physicality with which he played. And Alex is our secret weapon. He comes in and usually provides a spark off the bench and I think those two guys were pivotal.”"

Okay, Dwight Howard’s role is stapled in for the rest of the season. That’s a given. What about Caruso’s role going forward? Vogel stated he could see increased playing time:

"“Yeah, it’s a possibility for it expanding. Granted, right now he’s my secret weapon. I break him out when I need him. He certainly earned a rotational spot and he’s in the rotation. Like I said, when we need him to grow into a bigger role he delivers.”"

Now, where does that leave Rajon Rondo? Alex Caruso has a knack for making winning plays when it matters. Does he possess the same court vision and playmaking ability of Rondo? No. But neither does Avery Bradley, the unofficial starting point guard for your Los Angeles Lakers.

What works for Caruso is the fact that he is an excellent defender and knows when to cut off-ball. Does Rajon play defense? Not since he left Boston. When have you seen him cut to the basket backdoor? The season is still 29 games young, we can wait for the answer.

Vogel has opted to play Rajon Rondo as the backup to James so he can bring the ball up the floor and organize the offense. He hasn’t done that, for the most part, this season. Now Vogel and the coaching staff have to weigh options. Either keep your word and give minutes earned by a player that makes timely winning plays like these.


Or stay with a player that is unable to stay in front of his man on defense and consistently knock down an open shot with any consistency. Let’s just say that Rondo falls out of the rotation completely, then what?