Since Rajon Rondo has been re-inserted in the starting lineup after having a sit down conversation with Luke Walton about his role with the team, the Lakers have collected a 2-6 record. Despite averaging 11/6/10 over the recent starting stretch what has become incredibly obvious is that defenses are completely ignoring Rondo on the offensive end and it is hurting the Lakers offense. In transition play Rondo still functions as a good passer but those opportunities are limited.
With the litany of injuries that have derailed the Lakers, teams have found it easier to target which players to focus on in transition to prevent quick scoring and easy transition opportunities. Recently the Lakers have become significantly worse in their half court possessions especially after re-inserting Rondo. The reason for this is because of the different ways defenses are respecting Rondo on the offensive end.
Defenders are abandoning Rondo after he gives up the ball to his teammates forcing them to score over multiple defenders or pass it back to him knowing he isn’t a serious offensive threat
Against the Pelicans when the game was in the single digits, the Pelican’s pretty much ignored all defensive coverage when he was the initiator. The play below Rondo directs Ingram to the corner and neither Jrue nor Payton bother to rotate to Rondo.
Even with Lebron as the initiator on the floor, team’s are just adjusting their coverages to shadow Lebron.
On the play below Lebron has no choice other than to give it to Rondo and when he moves to the high post both Jrue and Davis get drawn to Lebron.
Anyone watching the Bucks game learned early on that Milwaukee was perfectly content with Rondo chucking as many threes as he wanted and Rondo never really tried anything different.
In the play below Rondo takes the bait and doesn’t bother to even wait for Bullocks cut off of Lebron’s screen.
Rondo is making things worse by bringing his defender into the play just by being nearby the action. He’s not even moving away so that his teammates have more room to operate with in half court sets.
The Suns got wise to Rondo as they repeatedly did their best to make sure they walled off any driving opportunities for Lebron and Ingram. They defended any drives as a group which forced his teammates to pass back to him.
On this play Tyler Johnson doesn’t even bother to chase Rondo to the corner and Rondo brings him into the play and Johnson acts as a third defender against Lebron’s drive opportunity.
The Clippers used Rondo against his own offense in the most effective manner of all the previous teams. Any defender on Rondo was automatically tasked with showing early zone looks on any of Lebron’s drives.
On the play below Beverley is only one pass away on his rotation and goes to double Lebron as soon as Rondo gives it to him forcing Lebron to pass it back. What makes this play worse is that Rondo had Bullock right next to him.
Even when Rondo is on the opposite side of the court, Beverley rotate far away from Rondo. Again on the play below, Lebron is forced to make the “right” play and Rondo doesn’t even bother to skip pass it to Bullock wide open in the corner
Check out what happened in a relatively close game situation against Toronto last night. Lebron gets the switch and draws McCaw and Rondo for some reason decides to stand in the one area where his defender can easily help on Lebron’s drive
Rondo’s presence on the court after being re-inserted to the starting lineup hasn’t resulted in positive results as defenses are going more and more out of their way to ignore him.
When games get close Rondo’s negative presence is even more apparent and this doesn’t even include his defensive laziness post all-star break.
Luke Walton should absolutely consider giving more minutes to players like Caruso if he wants different results or else this will just become much more ridiculous then it already is.