Los Angeles Lakers: The mistake to avoid with bringing Rajon Rondo back

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

Rajon Rondo is likely returning to the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round.

The Los Angeles Lakers have been without Rajon Rondo for the entirety of the NBA bubble. Rondo broke his thumb during practice prior to the scrimmage games and has been out of action as a result.

He was trending to potentially make an appearance in the first round of the NBA Playoffs against the Portland Trail Blazers but back spasms continued to hold him out. Now, it is looking like he could make his return in the second round.

Head coach Frank Vogel said that he is hopeful that Rondo will make an appearance at some point in this series. When he does come back, the team can easily implement him in and replace the minutes given to the likes of J.R Smith and Quinn Cook.

But even then, that is not a lot of minutes for Rondo to be on the court — seven, to be exact, if we are looking at how much the two played in Game 5 against Portland.

That could mean that the Los Angeles Lakers look to create minutes elsewhere for Rondo, which is where they have to avoid making a potentially massive mistake that would ironically make the team worse with the return of Rondo.

The Los Angeles Lakers cannot dip into Alex Caruso’s minutes

Alex Caruso has gotten more of a chance to shine with Rajon Rondo being out of action and was really good for the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. In fact, I would argue that he was the Lakers’ third most important player in the series as it was his perimeter defense that helped limit the Blazers’ elite backcourt.

Out of every player in the playoffs this season with at least 20 minutes played per game, Caruso ranks sixth in defensive box plus-minus and is second among guards (ironically, behind James Harden).

Anthony Davis and LeBron James rank second and third, showing how important the defensive trio of LeBron, Davis and Caruso was the in the first round.

That will continue to be the case no matter who the Lakers player in the second round. Both teams thrive at the guard position and if the Lakers can slow them down there then they will be successful.

AD and LeBron are still important, but it is the perimeter defense that is the most important and that is why Caruso is so critical to this team.

Rondo is not necessarily an elite defender and definitely is not as good as Caruso. And while the potential of playoff Rondo is fun, the Lakers have to continue to go with what works. Rondo’s minutes cannot and should not come at the sake of taking minutes away from Caruso.

If Caruso does not take the ball up the court as much as he has been then fine, I understand using Rondo in that way. However, if anything else is changed about Caruso’s role in the second round, just to make room for the veteran in Rondo, then the Los Angeles Lakers are making a huge mistake.

Should the Lakers be interested in Carmelo?. dark. Next

Outsiders who do not follow the Los Angeles Lakers might still think Caruso is just a meme. He is not. He is the third most important player on this team.