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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Lakers (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Lakers that are under more pressure: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope technically hasn’t played any minutes at the one so far this season but is accustomed to both backcourt spots. Last season 27 percent of his minutes were spent as a point guard.

The most likely outcome of Rondo’s injury is that KCP and Alex Caruso or Dion Waiters split time in the two backcourt slots of the second unit. Caruso, to me, is best when he’s cutting and moving off the ball or without the ball in his hands, as evidenced by his 21.9 percentile rank in isolation and 16.4 percentile rank as a pick-and-roll ball-handler. As a cutter, Caruso still isn’t excellent, but his 54.9 percentile rank is far higher.

Nonetheless, KCP seems to be involved in the process of making up for the loss of Rondo in some way, shape or form, and the second unit as a whole will have more stress put on them, particularly in the backcourt.

KCP is averaging nearly 40 percent shooting beyond the arc, nearly 60 percent in true shooting percentage. He averages 9.5 points and 1.7 assists per game.

Alone, he won’t make up for the 5.0 assists per game that Rondo averages, but the fact is that he may need to do his best to get there. The pressure will certainly be on for Caldwell-Pope as he aims to establish his footing and prove himself as a playoff piece.

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