The restart to the NBA season is approaching with all 22 teams down in Orlando. “Opening night” is set for July 30 and the marquee matchup of the evening is the Lakers playing the Clippers. When the season was suspended back on March 11, the Lakers were 49-14 and held a 5.5 game lead over the Clippers for the top seed in the Western Conference. This week, however, Los Angeles was dealt another blow. Rajon Rondo fractured his right thumb. He is expected to miss six to eight weeks. The Lakers will also be without Avery Bradley after he opted out of the restart.
Will the Rondo injury affect the Lakers chances of winning the title?
The NBA playoffs begin on August 17. The NBA Finals are set to begin on September 30 with the Western Conference Finals scheduled to start on September 15. If the Lakers cannot get out the first or second round without Rajon Rondo, they were never going to win the title in the first place. As Frank Vogel pointed out, the Lakers are expecting Rondo back during the playoffs, likely in the second round. Los Angeles has enough backcourt depth with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Danny Green, Alex Caruso, and Quinn Cook. Additionally, the Lakers have signed J.R. Smith and Dion Waiters.
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I am not trying to diminish Rondo as a player. He is a valuable asset to the Lakers and will be in the later stages of the postseason. Through 48 games, Rondo averaged 7.1 points per game, 5.0 assists per game, and had the fifth-best player efficiency rating (PER) on the team. But, if you believed the Lakers were going to win the NBA Finals before Rondo’s injury, remain confident.Matt Moore of the Action Network pointed out “the Lakers were 8.1 points better in Net Rating per 100 possessions with Rondo on the bench this season, the worst mark for any rotation player with at least 500 minutes.” And let's not forget, the Lakers have LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The main reason the Lakers are the favorites to win the title is thanks to that dynamic duo. James is the point guard and offense starts with him especially when the playoffs come around.