If LeBron James is going to reach the NBA Finals for the ninth straight year, it would mean his Los Angeles Lakers dethroning the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. But one of LeBron’s new teammates, Rajon Rondo, made it clear that he expects just that.
“You put any team, any group of players around LeBron James, as he has done [eight] straight times, he went to the Finals,” Rondo said recently, per Bill Oram of The Athletic. “So my expectations are the exact same thing.”
Obviously, beating Golden State is a tall task. A number of other teams have tried to beat the Warriors by constructing a team of shooters.
Rondo doesn’t feel like that’s a winning strategy.
“I think it is kind of crazy if you think you are going to outshoot Golden State at this point,” he said, per Oram. “Obviously, they have proved it … that no team can really shoot with them, so I think of other ways that you have to try to beat those guys. I think we are going to try to crack that code.”
What Rondo likes is that the Lakers will be able to handle the ball. He said that with opposing defenses having to deal with as many as five ballhandlers, “It will be very versatile and I don’t think you’ll be able to scout and stick to one gameplan as far as being able to stop a certain player.”
It might seem like a longshot for the Lakers to beat the Warriors. With that said, this is the exact mindset that Rondo and all of his Los Angeles teammates need to have. LeBron didn’t sign with the Lakers just to get the back to the playoffs. He signed to compete for and win championships.
Mind you, none of that means that anything that Rondo is talking about will work. Having a plan to beat Golden State is one thing. Stepping out onto the floor and doing it four times in seven games is quite another. It’s something only one team has been able to do in four years.
So, while Rondo’s optimism might not end up being well founded, it’s hard to find fault in his attitude.