A big topic of conversation surrounding media days across the NBA this year was the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine with a number of players being hesitant to get it. The Los Angeles Lakers did not receive the scrutiny as a lot of other teams and players though as Rob Pelinka came out right away and said the team will be fully vaccinated by the time they take the court on Opening Night against the Golden State Warriors.
This gives the Lakers a ton of advantages such as looser protocols. Additionally, some cities and states are requiring all individuals to be vaccinated at indoor events, so unvaccinated players risk potentially missing games.
In a season where the Lakers have championship aspirations, they cannot have players missing time either due to protocols or being unvaccinated.
Because of that, Frank Vogel expressed excitement that every player on his team was willing to commit to being vaccinated.
“Well, it’s huge,” Vogel said at Lakers Media Day. “Obviously you want to be able to not be compromised in any way with extended absence for quarantines or exposure quarantines. They were costly last year to our group. Not everybody, not every team in the league this year has that luxury, but we do. And there was a lot of conversations and education to get that done along the way and I’m super proud of our guys for making that commitment and hopefully we don’t have some of those disruptions like we did last year.”
Every player being vaccinated allows the Lakers to do more things together such as team dinners and film room sessions. Stuff like that was huge for the 2019-20 team building chemsitry and should be the case again with this roster, which is part of the reason why Vogel has to be so excited.
Just because every player is vaccinated does not mean they are immune from the virus though, so they will have to continue to be cautious in their day-to-day lives in order to get through the season without any issues.
Vogel gives timeline for decision on starting lineup
On the court, one of the biggest question marks Vogel will have to sort out is who will round out the starting lineup alongside LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook.
Vogel has all of training camp and the preseason to make a decision, and he expects to use all that time.
“I would say we’re certainly not going to have any decisions made before the last two preseason games,” Vogel said. “Hopefully, we’ll have some direction at that point, but we could still be looking at those last two games. Try one, one way and other, the other way.
“The first four games, we’ll probably have a lot of guys in and out of the lineup. We won’t be whole in those games. Hopefully, we will be the last two. But like I said, I’m not putting a real timeline on it. Hopefully, we should have some real direction by then.”
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