Frank Vogel Details Why Lakers Star Is Coming off Bench, Gets Response

frank vogel

Getty Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel.

One of the most pleasant surprises for the Los Angeles Lakers this season has been the play of Carmelo Anthony. The 37-year-old forward was once one of the NBA’s great players but he’s long past his prime. However, he’s showing this season that he has plenty more left in the tank.

Despite the fact that he’s coming off the bench, Anthony is averaging 17.2 points a game and making 50% of his 3-point shots. He’s been everything the Lakers would hope he would be and so much more. With LeBron James missing time due to injury, there could be an argument that the team should insert Anthony into the starting lineup.

Head coach Frank Vogel doesn’t have any intention of doing that right now as he likes the spark that Anthony is providing off the bench.

“Our crowd is amazing with him, and they’re keeping him out of the starting lineup [laughs] because the energy we get when he checks in, is something that I don’t want to mess with, you know?” Vogel said after Wednesday’s 120-117 win over the Miami Heat.

“And obviously there’s the temptation to slide AD to the five, but I like where we’re getting with [Carmelo] coming off the bench. And we just got to continue, I’m not sure what it is, he’s a great player that I think our fans came close to acquiring a couple of times or wanted to bring to the L.A. Lakers. And now we have him and man, he’s playing just terrific basketball and the fans are rewarding him.”

How the Lakers are using Anthony right now is working very well. There’s no need to switch things up yet.

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Anthony Responds to Vogel’s Comments

Carmelo Anthony, Lakers

GettyCarmelo Anthony of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Last year was the first time that Anthony came off the bench during a season he was healthy for. He played well in the role for the Portland Trail Blazers, averaging 13.4 points a game and hitting 40.9% of his threes. He’s been even better this year for the Lakers off the bench. Despite the success in his current role, Anthony would still like to start. He heard about Vogel’s comments and gave his thoughts.

“That’s the only reason? Come on, Frank,” Anthony said jokingly, via Lakers Nation. “The first time I came off the bench, it was a hard time coming off the bench. It was something that I didn’t know how to react to, I didn’t know how to respond to. It was something foreign to me, it was something I’ve never done before outside of playing with the USA Team, but that was different.

“Having that experience coming off the bench and understanding, and being able to see the flow of the game and what’s needed and the energy that’s needed to come off the bench and just coming in there and just fitting right in. I’ve adapted to that, I’ve accepted that especially before I came here when I got that call.”

Anthony Could Be Viable Starter With LeBron Out

It makes sense why Vogel is holding firm in his decision to have Anthony off the bench, especially at home. However, there could be merit to the idea of putting him in the starting lineup while LeBron James recovers from injury. Part of the appeal of trading for Russell Westbrook was that Anthony Davis was supposed to move to center. That hasn’t often been the case often this season as DeAndre Jordan has started 10 of 12 games.

If Vogel starts Davis at center while LeBron is out, it makes a lot of sense to start Anthony at power forward. That could be a strong lineup for the team. It’s unlikely to happen often but is certainly an option to consider.

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