Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has long been known as a defensive-minded leader. Whenever given the opportunity, he reminds that his — and the Lakers’ — top priority is always the defensive end.
Given the sloppy start to the 2020-21 season on that end of the floor, it’s safe to assume Vogel’s mind is focused on how to fix that. However, for all the credit Vogel gets for his defense, it’s his offense that is currently leading the Lakers to wins.
Through 10 games, L.A. ranks third in offensive rating, second in field goal percentage and sixth in 3-point percentages. All are improved numbers from last season. Offense — and particularly shooting — was the biggest area of concern in 2019-20, but personnel changes have put those worries to bed.
Vogel discussed what goes into the Lakers offensive scheme, explaining it’s mainly dictated by the point guards and feel. “We play with a lot of randomness and empower our point guard on the floor, whether that’s ‘Bron, Dennis or Alex to call the action with my ability to put guys in spots when needed,” Vogel said.
“But we empower our group to play with good offensive concepts as much as anything. The spacing, the screening angles we want to execute, knowing each other’s strengths, whether it’s playing through Marc at the top of the key and knowing when he has the ball we’re speed cutting all over the place.
“Or if we’re going to play in the pick-and-roll game with Trezz, he has that ability to roll to the basket or throw it back to him in the post. We’re just learning each other, and that’s part of the randomness that we want. Guys seem to be getting more comfortable each game in that type of system.”
There is likely not a better group of players in the NBA to run an offense through than LeBron James, Dennis Schroder, Anthony Davis and Marc Gasol. While there have been some turnover issues, it is definitely not due to a lack of intelligence, but rather a new group still learning each other.
Montrezl Harrell reveling in ‘free-flowing’ Lakers offense
Vogel’s comments about the Lakers offense came in response to what Montrezl Harrell said about the team’s nature of the attack.
“The system I had been playing in for a while was it’s got to be 3s, layups or let’s get free throws,” Harrell said. “But it’s not like that over here. They play to the style of everybody’s game and we’re not looking at anybody like, ‘You’ve got to do this, you’ve got to do that.’ We play basketball over here.
“It’s a free-flowing game, nobody tries to go outside of themselves, and I think that’s the best thing of being on this team and with these guys. Everybody does what they already do well.”
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