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 (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Lakers that are under more pressure: Dion Waiters

Dion Waiters has not yet played a game for the Los Angeles Lakers, officially signed on March 6th of 2020.

Waiters has had a tough year and has become a storyline for all the wrong reasons. He spent much of the season on the bench or suspended by the Miami Heat for “conduct detrimental to the team.” Not a great look for a pro athlete supposedly being capable of leading a team.

Waiters, though not the supposed star he once was, can still contribute in a meaningful way to a competitive team if given the opportunity. And with Rondo out, it might be time for him and the Lakers to apply some pressure to himself, especially in the eight games for seeding purposes before the postseason kicks off.

Waiters is a great piece to weaponize because of his versatility — he can play the one, two, or three with ease — but with Rondo out he might be best suited as a backup ball-handler, scorer, and facilitator. While naturally, he’s more of a combo guard, Waiters is in no position to clamor for a specific role on this team.

Last year Waiters spent 58 percent of his minutes in the one, but only averaged 2.8 assists per game. With LeBron taking a pass-first approach in the first-unit, Waiters may need to adjust in leading the second unit, but could also look for opportunities to score.

In his first game back with the Heat this year, Waiters scored 10 of Miami’s final 12 points,

He scored in a variety of ways — catch and shoot, off the dribble, coming off screens and give-and-gos — which displays his unique position to inject some excitement to the second unit.

Given his less than optimal reputation league-wide at the moment, too, it’s in Waiters’ best interest to take on the greater pressure and aim for excellence.