3 Lakers players under extra pressure in light of Rajon Rondo injury

Rajon Rondo, Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Rajon Rondo, Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Lakers, Rajon Rondo (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

These three Los Angeles Lakers will need to step up in light of Rajon Rondo’s injury

Each of the 22 teams, the Los Angeles Lakers included, that traveled to Orlando to participate in the NBA’s creative “bubble plan” to continue its season in light of the impacts of COVID-19 knew they were heading out with some inherent risk.

Though the initiative in Orlando is insulated from some of the risks of traveling from multiple localities, it’s nearly impossible to create a true, impermeable bubble. The logistical challenges that come along with doing so would be far too steep for the NBA or any sports league to pull off.

Along with the risk of players, coaches, and team staff potentially getting infected in Orlando is the risk of injury. As players ramp up production, perhaps after not doing too much to stay in shape over the last few months, there is certainly the risk that bodies don’t respond as expected. And, of course, in the world of professional sports, injuries are always a possibility.

The Lakers had to face the worst of that reality on Sunday evening when it was reported that Rajon Rondo will miss six-to-eight weeks of basketball activity due to a broken hand.

Yeah, not quite the ideal way to start things off in Orlando.

While the Lakers still have their core intact along with complementary pieces around the fringes of the roster, this will ask some players on the roster to step up and take on greater expectations, and therefore, more pressure. The fact that the Lakers really don’t have a true point guard outside of Rondo that is ready to play a high level of minutes makes making up for his minutes a bit tricky.

Notably missing from my list — and as Ronald Agers pointed out in a column this morning as a potential player that will need to step up — is Alex Caruso. His defensive capabilities and relatively strong offensive skillset will certainly put him in prime position to step up. I don’t see Caruso spending much time as the de facto backup point guard even without Rondo, so I didn’t mention him here. His low touches — he averages 29.3 ball touches per game, ninth on the team — don’t inspire confidence that he could be the primary ball-handler.

That said, on the defensive end, Caruso may take on the defensive assignments at the one regardless of his role on offense.

However, it’s certainly a possibility that Caruso is asked to slide into various roles over the next few weeks, so he’s a player to keep tabs on as well.