At the time the NBA season was postponed, the Los Angeles Lakers stood at 49-14, good for the best record in the Western Conference and second-best in the entire NBA.
Frank Vogel’s team was playing arguably its best basketball of the season, with LeBron James pushed for another MVP Award and Anthony Davis looking to be the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Most importantly, the team really seemed to come together under Vogel’s leadership. Known as a defensive-minded coach, Vogel had the Lakers near the top of a number of defensive metrics.
The Lakers had figured out their identity and players were comfortable with their roles. Vogel recently spoke about the challenges of a prolonged layoff and said he’s hopeful the team can quickly resume with their positive habits, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:
“Just watching the tapes, we had a really good team,” Vogel said. “Have a really good team. Hopefully, all the habits that we built throughout the course of the season won’t be too far away from us resuming those.”
While there were concerns about the level of talent on the Lakers roster after their two star players, they made up for it with outstanding chemistry and a great understanding of roles. It was obvious that this team truly enjoyed being around each other and constantly pushed each other to be better.
Just as importantly, the Lakers had different options for whatever they needed at the time, be it shooting, defense, size or playmaking. The team was really come together at the time of the stoppage and with so much momentum, things couldn’t have come to a halt at a worse time.
Regardless of how much the players have worked to stay in shape and everything the coaches and staff do to get them ready for when play does resume, it can be hard to regain that momentum and continuity, especially over a short period of time.
It is unknown exactly how this season will finish out, but a vote on a 22-team plan in Orlando is expected this week. Vogel has been open about his desire to have games, be it regular season or exhibition, before the league jumps into a playoffs.
It will be on Vogel and the players to put in the necessary work for the Lakers to regain the form that they had established before things were shut down.