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Lakers not sticking with LeBron James as starting point guard

Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 18: Rajon Rondo #9, and LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers smile during a pre-season game against the Golden State Warriors on October 18, 2019 at Chase Center in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

The Lakers’ bold plan to make LeBron James their starting point guard?

It lasted only one game.

Point guard Rajon Rondo missed the Lakers’ season-opening loss to the Clippers with a calf injury. LeBron started at point guard with Avery Bradley and Danny Green on the wing. But once Rondo gets healthy, he’ll start with LeBron shifting back to forward and Bradley presumably coming off the bench.

Lakers coach Frank Vogel, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

“I’ve given it a lot of thought and I think he’ll be in the starting lineup a lot,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said of Rondo after practice Thursday. “I definitely envision a lot of games where he’ll be the starting point guard.”
Vogel said there still could be games where Rondo comes off the bench and Bradley starts, depending on matchups.

On one hand, this seems like an overreaction to a single game against a team many – myself included – picked to win the championship. On the other hand, teams shouldn’t stick to a plan just because it’s already in place.

The Lakers could use better ball movement, and Rondo should help. He showed a nice ability to set up Anthony Davis with the Pelicans. However, Davis has since expanded his all-around game, improving his ability to create for himself and others.

Los Angeles also needs better spacing, and Rondo is a liability on the perimeter – a key reason he has fit so poorly with LeBron. That’ll remain an issue for a guard in a post-up offense.

Rondo’s defense is suspect, too. Bradley applies more pressure on the ball.

The Lakers have many distinctive pieces to fit together. I’m unconvinced starting Rondo is the answer, but it’s also difficult to envision an optimized rotation. Vogel should keep experimenting like this.