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Lakers’ Frank Vogel praises Rajon Rondo after season debut

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Frank Vogel was quick to praise veteran point guard Rajon Rondo following his season debut, pointing to his sound impact in short minutes of the bench. The cagey floor general debuted after missing the first nine games of the season but gave the Los Angeles Lakers five points, six rebounds, and seven assists in only 14 minutes off the bench — the type of well-rounded production that gets a head coach interrupting his own press conference to sign some praise.

“And I want to say, Rajon gave us a huge lift too,” Vogel volunteered after finishing an answer about Kyle Kuzma, according to Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen & Roll. “We had a 120 offensive rating, and that’s the highest of the year I believe for us. Him running that second unit the way he did, orchestrating, getting us to play with pace and keeping us organized was a big factor in the win tonight.”

Substitutes are hardly ever praised, especially when they’re not logging major minutes. But Rondo was truly a catalyst for that second unit, giving LeBron James some well-deserved rest and the Lakers a chance to keep their attack, despite having one of their best players off the floor.

Rondo only managed a plus-4 during his 14 minutes on the court, but his energy and approach were palpable for a team that awaited his veteran leadership.

The Lakers beat a sturdy Phoenix Suns team on the road, keeping their place atop the Western Conference with an 8-2 record to start out their 2019-20 season.