SportsLine Projection Model: Lakers are actually better off without the injured Rajon Rondo
Los Angeles Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo has had a fine NBA career, being named to four All-Star teams and a member of the NBA's All-Defensive team a handful of times as well. Three times he led the league in assists, twice did in triple-doubles and once in steals. However, there's one thing Rondo doesn't do well: Shoot. Thus, the SportsLine Projection Model actually thinks the Los Angeles Lakers are BETTER OFF after losing Rondo for 6-8 weeks to a fractured thumb in practice on Sunday.
Rondo was averaging 7.1 points, 5.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds this season as a reserve in 20.5 minutes per night. He might have seen more floor time in Orlando, though, with starting guard Avery Bradley opting out of the restart for family reasons.
Alex Caruso, Dion Waiters and Quinn Cook now figure to see more action – Waiters signed with L.A. right before the league shutdown and hasn't taken the court for the team yet. The Lakers signed JR Smith as Bradley's replacement for the remainder of the season, but they won't be allowed to sign someone to replace Rondo.
At a minimum, Rondo figures to miss the first round of the playoffs. L.A. is all but a lock to finish as the West's top seed with a 5.5-game lead over the second-place Clippers.
If Rondo is done for the season, the Model jumps the Lakers from third-favorites at 23 percent to win the NBA title in Orlando to 31 percent second-favorites behind the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Lakers' minus-6.8 net rating with Rondo on the court is the worst of any player who has seen more than 400 minutes of action this season. However, Rondo has a history of raising his game in the postseason – hence the nickname "Playoff Rondo."
The Lakers are +240 championship favorites on the moneyline odds at William Hill sportsbook.
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