Rajon Rondo, in his recent interview with Dave McMenamin of ESPN, was quick to shoot down the notion that the Lakers, as they are currently built, are incapable of achieving success.
“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.”
No matter your opinion on the Lakers' issues, there is no underestimating their unfortunate stroke of the injury bug this season. Kyle Kuzma missed games with an ankle injury, Brandon Ingram was ruled out for the remainder of the season with a blood clot in his arm, LeBron James missed 18 games with a significant groin injury, Lοnzο Βall has not played since January after discovering a bone bruise in his ankle, and even Rondo himself missed significant time after suffering a right finger sprain in December.
Before the injuries piled up, the Lakers were 4th in the West after beating the Warriors on Christmas day. The Lakers have plenty of problems in terms of chemistry and lack of talent, but the injury bug no doubt played a major role in their downfall this season.
With a serious roster overhaul coming, the team is hoping for better years to come. But for that dream to come true, they will need their guys to stay healthy first.