Just after the Los Angeles Lakers’ nail-biting defeat against the Sacramento Kings last night, further negative, interim news was confirmed that Rajon Rondo will miss at least a month of action with a sprained finger. Rondo suffered the injury during the Warriors game just this past Tuesday. Unfortunately, his finger sprain comes at quite the inopportune time for the veteran, as he had already generated a double-double in the game, prior to the incident. On top of having a myriad of finger issues in the past, the previous, four- time All Star has seen a major decrease in minutes while he plays second fiddle to promising second year point guard, Lonzo Ball.
Ball’s youth, promise, and unique size for a point guard is what keeps Rondo on the bench as the back-up point guard. However, statistically speaking, Rondo has a standout assist to turnover ratio at 3:1, while Ball’s is a respectable (2.3):1. The skew in ratios is due to Lonzo’s more frenetic, rapid pace which typically correlates to more turnovers, while Rondo is the more methodical, facilitating- first point guard. Though he averages just under 2.0 points a game than Lonzo, Rondo’s percentages from the field are predominately stronger than Ball’s. It’s a prime case of efficiency vs. flashiness here.
Looking forward, this is a great opportunity for Lonzo Ball to showcase his improvement with the extended minutes Rondo has granted him. Look for Lakers to take advantage of Ball’s length and defensive prowess to establish a fast tempo. Ball’s great ability to launch outlet passes ways away and push the ball in the open court will provide a nice pace for the offense. Especially with Lebron out for a bit of time, Laker’s fans will truly see what the second year point guard is able to carry on his shoulders. Ball must keep the turnovers down and wisely chose his attacks to the bucket, so he can create for himself or his teammates.
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How will the Lakers adjust without Lonzo Ball?
Not one, not two, but a total of three Lakers have been sidelined with impactful injuries, just within the past thirty days. First, it was four time MVP, Lebron James, just weeks after, it was veteran back-up point guard, Rajon Rondo, and now as we speak, starting point guard, Lonzo Ball. Ball’s injury was sustained moments after the second year point-guard caught a skip pass, coming from the far, right corner to the top of the key. After receiving the pass, Ball headed straight towards the rim but when cut off by Houston Rockets wing, James Ennis, his ankle gave out as he gingerly fell onto the court. Ball had to exit the game for its entirety and was unable to walk off the court under his own power.
Quite frankly this injury comes at an inopportune time for both parties- the Lakers and Ball. Not only will Ball’s inherited gifts such as his length, size, and athleticism be missed, but also the incessant improvements to his outside shooting and defense that have shown through, recently. From an X’s and O’s adjustment standpoint, look for the Lakers to utilize Brandon Ingram more as a primarily ball handler in the starting lineup. His length and adept ball-handling skills advertise him as a viable candidate to get the ball up and the down court in an efficient manner. Ingram is also a worthy interim-replacement because he sticks to the script when it comes to getting his team into their offensive sets. In other words, his game doesn’t embody many selfish tendencies which makes it easier for other players to involve themselves in the offense. That being said, even though Ingram may be their best option, it doesn’t take away from the fact that the main approach will be to move the ball via competent passing. Ingram isn’t equipped with nearly as much speed in the open court like Lonzo; therefore, it is more feasible to put emphasis on passing as the main mode for movement because the ball always outruns humans.
In regards to the future, news has already broken out that the severity of the sprain is viewed as a grade 3. The protocol for Ball realistically will be wearing an ankle brace for 2-3 weeks. It is important the Laker’s training staff takes the ultimate amount of precaution, with Ball being regarded as a piece of the posterity for this this team. Ball has the chance of suiting up to play in about 6 weeks. Lakers fans are going to have to hold tight for a little while to see their young stud suited up.