The arrival of LeBron James didn’t make the Los Angeles Lakers an instant title contender, but they were at least expected to return to the Western Conference Playoffs in the 2018-19 NBA season. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as the Lakers expected as they still failed to reach the postseason for the sixth consecutive year despite having arguably the best basketball player in the world.
Despite suffering a disappointing season, Rondo still believes that the Lakers’ current roster has the ability to accomplish something big. In his recent interview with Dave McMenamin of ESPN, which is currently posted on Twitter, Rondo confidently said that the Lakers have a strong chance of beating the reigning NBA champions, Golden State Warriors, if they have a “full deck” in the 2018-19 NBA season.
“We still didn’t have a full deck this year so you can’t really throw out that philosophy and say it didn’t work. Championships are won defensively. It’s a miss-make league. You can’t control, obviously, the shots you make. It helps if you got a lot of shooters, three-point makers. But you’re not going to outscore Golden State Warriors in a seven-game series. The only way you’re going to be able to do it is get defensive stops, and I think we had that type of roster when we were healthy as far as guys that take pride defensively.”
Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka have been saying the same thing as Rondo since the 2018 NBA offseason. Instead of surrounding LeBron James with accurate three-point shooters, the Lakers prioritized signing playmakers, believing that it could help them beat the Warriors in a best-of-seven series.
Rajon Rondo’s recent statements are not purely boastful remarks. Though the 2018-19 NBA season proved that they need three-point shooting, the Lakers’ current roster managed to reach as high as the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference. However, things started to fall apart when some of their key players, including Rondo, LeBron James, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma, suffered injuries.
With an incomplete roster, the Lakers started to drop from the Western Conference standings until they were officially removed from the playoff race. As of now, it is highly unlikely that the Lakers will still have the same roster in the 2019-20 NBA season. When the season is over, the Lakers are planning to let all of their incoming free agents walk away and use their salary cap space to chase the likes of Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson, and Jimmy Butler. The Lakers are also expected to explore trading their young players for superstars who will be available on the trade market next summer.