For most NBA teams, the morning shootaround has become a necessary evil, a light early practice on game days to review the tendencies of that night’s opponent. Players usually don’t like them much but begrudgingly put in the time to go over the scouting report and work on little things.
According to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, the Lakers have not been holding shootaround in their NBA restart games in Orlando. He quoted, anonymously, “someone who would know,” as saying, “LeBron James doesn’t want to do it (shootaround), Anthony Davis doesn’t want to do it. They kick ass when we don’t do it, so that’s it.”
Vardon reported that the Lakers have a voluntary shootaround on game mornings, in which players can go to put in some work on their shots. James, he wrote, usually does not attend.
Lakers Have an Old Roster, Including LeBron James
The Lakers also did not practice on Friday. That will be a central question for coaches throughout the seeding games over the coming weeks, not just for the Lakers. Teams mostly play every other night and coaches generally like to give players the day off after a game. But teams also need to work off the rust of the coronavirus hiatus.
Resting could be especially important with a veteran team like the Lakers, with six rotation players in their 30s—including, of course, James, who is 35.
It also helps that the Lakers have a very comfortable lead in the Western Conference standings. Even after Saturday’s rough loss to Toronto, the Lakers hold the No. 1 seed over the Clippers by a margin of 5½ games, with just six games left to play. It is almost impossible for them to lose that lead.
But given the fact that the Lakers have played only two games and three scrimmages in the past four months, practice time could be valuable, especially with three relatively new players, Markieff Morris, Dion Waiters and J.R. Smith, to work into the rotation.
Lakers’ Vogel: ‘We’ve Got Enough to Get the Job Done’
During the training camp portion of the NBA return last month, teams were only allowed to practice three hours a day at most, with the facilities needing to be sanitized and set up for the next team. After three hours, the team was not allowed to return until the next day.
Once he arrived in Orlando, Lakers coach Frank Vogel had no objections to the setup.
“We’ve got enough to get the job done,” Vogel told reporters in a conference call. “We have the facilities we need, the NBA has done a great job of creating an environment that can house a lot of teams and we’ve got the courts necessary, we’ve got the weight rooms, training rooms, meeting rooms, hotel accommodations. And we have enough.”
What they might not have enough of, though, is time. The Lakers are intending on being in Orlando, certainly through this month and the first round of the playoffs. They should be able to stick around, too, through September, which will feature the conference semifinals and conference finals.
If all goes well, they’ll be playing in the Finals in October. Maybe they’ll resuscitate the shootarounds at that time. Until then, though, practice time remains at a premium.