Los Angeles Lakers

Despite injury, Lakers can still get veteran leadership from Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo is set to miss a few weeks with a broken hand, but the Lakers need his veteran presence more than anything else.

The 2018-19 season is off to a rough start for Rajon Rondo.

Although the Los Angeles Lakers have seemingly turned things around with six wins in seven games, Rondo’s season has hit a speedbump. In the Lakers’ Wednesday night win over the Portland Trail Blazers, the veteran point guard suffered a broken hand and is expected to be out of action for several games.

This wasn’t the ideal plan the Lakers had in mind when they signed Rondo in the offseason, but even from the bench, the former NBA champion can still do his part to help keep the Lakers winning.

Though they brought Rondo to Los Angeles to have a veteran point guard in the lineup with LeBron James, another big reason for signing Rondo was to provide mentorship for a mostly young team. Obviously, James is the team’s core; he’s what will make them a title contender. But the pieces surrounding him, such as Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma, are all still relatively new to the NBA.

Rondo has been in the league since 2006. He’s a former NBA champion. He’s played the role of a young player who greatly benefited from having veteran presences on the team.

Now he’s playing the veteran role, and he can still do it even while recuperating from a broken hand on the bench. His veteran leadership should be greatly beneficial for Ball in particular — the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft — as he likely continues to assume the role of the Lakers’ full-time starting point guard.

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With Rondo not playing, Ball will obviously see an increase in playing time, and now is the time for him to take on that challenge. He’s made strides from his rookie year, and now he must develop into the superstar point guard the Lakers expect him to be.

With an increase in minutes, as well as Rondo’s veteran leadership from the bench, this could be the biggest turning point of Ball’s young career thus far. Ultimately, the veteran presence is what the Lakers need from Rondo more than anything else, and he can still contribute that.

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