After taking a few months off, the Los Angeles Lakers are finally back at practice as a team. With the return of the NBA season closing in, it’s time for the team to get back into shape. The Lakers released a video of the players’ return to practice and LeBron James is looking rather mature.
James and Anthony Davis look like they’ve been staying in shape. Though they haven’t been able to practice for a while, the Lakers have a cohesive roster and should gel pretty quickly.
Frank Vogel Not Planning to Play AD at Center
Davis is one of the best big men in the NBA, but he’s never enjoyed playing center. He prefers to play power forward. The Lakers haven’t had him line up at center very often and head coach Frank Vogel hopes that won’t need to when the NBA returns:
I’m hopeful not to do it any more than we were doing prior. I’ve always felt that Dwight and JaVale [McGee] could handle the load of both center responsibilities. We were using them as center by committee, and I think playing between 12-16 minutes, roughly, per game. I feel like both of those guys could handle playing more than that. Playing 20, 24, 28 minutes a game if needed. So if Dwight is not out there for any type of stretch, we could do that with JaVale.
And we also have two young two-way guys, Devontae Cacok and Kostas Antetokounmpo that could buy us some minutes there as well, and then there’s a number of options where AD may be out there, but a Jared Dudley, or Markieff Morris or Kyle Kuzma is considered the five. So there’s a lot of different ways we can go with that. My hope is to still use Anthony around the same balance that we used him prior to all this, which is mostly at the four, sliding over to the five when needed.
The Lakers have an a good amount of big men, but Dwight Howard has yet to confirm his playing status. He apparently is leaning towards playing but hasn’t made a final decision. If he does decide to sit out, that could force Davis to play center some of the time.
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Lakers Bringing 17 Players to Orlando
Not counting the loss of Avery Bradley or the addition of JR Smith, the Lakers will head to Orlando with pretty much the same roster they had before the NBA suspension. Vogel revealed the number of players he’s planning to bring.
“Just because of the history of players coming back after a lockout types of situations and the high risk of injury,” Vogel said. “Additionally with the COVID protocols and potentially having guys out, we did decide to bring 17 players so that we make sure that we have enough practice bodies. What that does is it leaves you, and what most teams are going through, it leaves you a little bit shorthanded on the coaching front.”
The Lakers will have to travel with a light staff which could cause problems but at the end of the day, the team needs players. These are unprecedented times so every team will have to pick and choose what works best for them.