Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel revealed that the team will have a new starter in the backcourt. Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo are out. Bradley will miss the resumption due to family issues and Rondo broke his right thumb. JR Smith joined the team as a replacement for Bradley. Who will replace Rondo?
Rondo will miss 6-8 weeks due to his fractured thumb. The head coach talked about the injury for the first time.
“Losing Rajon is a huge loss for our team. But we expect Rajon to be part of our playoff run,” he said. “We’re very confident he’ll be able to get back and be a major factor for us.”
Rondo will probably return in the second round of the playoffs. The Lakers will definitely go after the title in Orlando as they are considered favorites to win it. According to Vogel, Rondo will have to leave Orlando to have his surgery and rehab.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will be starter now that Bradley is out. He will probably see more minutes than expected. Caldwell-Pope didn’t miss a contest this season. His team went 17-3 when he was a starter. He is averaging 25.4 minutes per game, 9.5 points while shooting under 40 percent from 3-point line.
The Lakers will have another starter
The Lakers head coach said there will be an open competition and things may change.
“We’ll always have an open competition,” he said. “Kentavious Caldwell-Pope did a phenomenal job when Avery was injured early in the season. That’s really where I’m at in terms of what the starting lineup is going to look like with him being in that slot. Obviously, seeing how things go throughout practice and other guys will have opportunities.”
Alex Caruso and Quinn Cook may start games. Veteran Dion Waiters and JR Smith are here, too.
“I can do that, but that’s a decision for the coaches,” media members on Monday.
Vogel explained that his team has a chance to replace Rondo and Bradley. He is confident about this.
“More will be needed from Alex and Quinn Cook. we have the ability to use our bigs, with Kuz and in particular AD, who have the ability to bring the ball up and initiate offense. But I also like the prospects of seeing what Dion Waiters can do,” Vogel said. “We have two really good basketball players that we added late in our season that do different things. Equally as important is JR being able to shoot from the perimeter. He’ll be a big time catch-and-shoot player and Dion with the ability to make plays off the bounce. Losing Rondo puts more of a need on Dion’s skill set. I look forward to seeing what he can do more as we get into games, but all of those guys will pick up the slack.”