The Los Angeles Lakers on Friday made official the signing of former All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo on a one-year, $9 million deal.
It has put him in the fold to help lead the backcourt unit that is notable headlined by second-year point guard Lonzo Ball, who is expected to take a grander role in next season. This is something that Rondo pointed out on Friday that he’s excited to get the opportunity to work with and mentor the 20-year-old.
“I’m excited to get a player at that age and just try and help him as much as I can as far as getting his game up to speed, especially with the amount of pressure that the organization has on them,” Rondo said. “Every night we are going to get guys’ best shots and to understand that night-in and night-out is what separates the good players from the great players.”
There had initially been chatter that Rondo could be in line to vie for the starting job, but he has taken the other approach to come in and become one of the leaders with his plethora of experience entering his 13th year in the league. This increased role as a mentor is something that has begun to embrace over the last several years with the 2018-19 season being yet another opportunity to provide valuable teachings to the Lakers’ young core group both on and off the court.
“I’ve done a pretty good job of going into the mentorship stage of my career these last couple of years helping young guys develop, not necessarily on the court but even more so off the court,” Rondo said. “Just helping them become young men, learn how to conduct business off the court. It’s not like a father figure, but just someone who’s been through a lot of things they’ll go through initially.”
It may be a mentorship role that Rondo is taking on with the Lakers’ youth, the championship aspiration still remain strong as ever with his first chance to play alongside LeBron James for the first time in his career.
“I think if you put any group of players around LeBron James, as he’s done (eight) straight times, he’s going to the Finals,” Rondo said. “So obviously my expectations are the exact same things. It’s early and I’m not promising anything but at the end of the day, I expect to win and nothing else. If not, it’s not satisfying.”