Assists to Lakers star Anthony Davis per 36 minutes playing with him:
With one point guard assisting him twice as frequently as the other, Davis noticed.
Per an NBA source familiar with some of the Lakers’ struggles through the 2020-21 campaign, Davis felt some frustration that he wasn’t getting the kind of looks in the post with Dennis Schroder running the point compared to those he received with Rondo a year earlier.
It’s understandable Davis got frustrated. Though he has improved at creating his own shots, for a high-scoring star, he’s heavily reliant on getting set up.
Rondo is a savvy passer with chemistry with Davis from when they played together with the Pelicans. Schroder is not that level of a distributor, and he might have had some tunnel vision toward the basket in a contract year last season.
Returning to the Lakers, Rondo could boost Davis more than Schroder did.
But that’s not the whole story.
The Lakers scored way more efficiently when Davis and Schroder shared the court last season (114.7 points per 100 possessions) than when Davis and Rondo shared the court the prior season (103.9 points per 100 possessions).
The difference was even more pronounced with LeBron James on the floor. Lakers’ offensive rating with…
- Rondo, LeBron and Davis: 92.6
- Schroder, LeBron and Davis: 116.3
Rondo’s lack of scoring and floor spacing are impediments. Setting up Davis is only one element of the offense.
To be fair, Rondo stepped up in the 2020 playoffs. The Lakers scored 113.7 points per 100 possessions with Rondo, LeBron and Davis sharing the floor that postseason.
The Lakers also won’t ask as much of Rondo this time around. Los Angeles has Russell Westbrook and Kendrick Nunn at point guard. Rondo’s ability to create shots for Davis provides significant value in some situations.
But – while Davis will welcome back Rondo – the Lakers ought to be careful not to miss the forest for the trees with Rondo’s offense.