Los Angeles Lakers: 3 players who are on the bubble of the playoff rotation

(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Lakers
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2. Rajon Rondo

It is hard to believe that the Lakers only other playmaker not named LeBron James has the potential to miss out on minutes during the playoffs, but such has been Rajon Rondo’s poor play throughout the season that he is facing an uphill battle in making the playoff rotation.

As a player, Rondo fills an enormous need for the Los Angeles Lakers; he is a pure playmaker and floor general who is looking to get his teammates easy shots. On a Lakers team full of shooters, that is an incredibly useful skillset.

When he is at his best, Rondo is capable of dishing the ball out at an elite level, finding his open teammates for easy shots and cutting the defense apart with his deceptive speed which allows him to get to the basket. For many years Rondo was one of the premier playmakers and point guards in the entire league. The Lakers picked up Rondo hoping that there was some of the Boston Celtics Rajon Rondo in him.

It is fair to say that elite Rondo has left the building.

What can be said for the Rondo we have today? Instead of dishing the ball off to his teammates, he seems to hold onto the ball for longer than is needed. By the time he dishes the ball off to his teammate, there isn’t much time left on the shot-clock forcing his teammates to settle for shots that are not a high percentage.

During his Boston Celtics days, Rondo would hit the likes of Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett off-screens, in the corner and in the post with plenty of time on the shot-clock. This would allow for the scorers on the team to make the correct look with some time on the shot clock. While Rondo is capable of doing this, he rarely makes the right pass when it is needed.

If Rondo can work in some pick and roll action with the likes of Anthony Davis, JaVale McGee, and Dwight Howard, as well as hitting the likes of Danny Green, Kyle Kuzma and Markieff Morris on the perimeter for open 3-point chances then he can potentially work his way into the rotation.

However, with the likes of Alex Caruso and Avery Bradley excelling on defense and from the 3-point line, it is unclear whether Rondo can do enough in the time he has to prove himself.

With the signing of Dion Waiters, the Lakers have added a player capable of making the extra pass needed to get his teammates easy shots, it loosens the need for Rondo.

So in the little time, Rondo has left, he should focus on releasing the ball in the flow of the offense, get his open teammate’s easy looks and work on his defense.

He has an uphill battle to beat Avery Bradley and Alex Caruso in the depth charts. Here is hoping the playoff’s Rondo shows up because this version of Rondo is not going to cut it.