There is no getting around the fact that the Los Angeles Lakers are an older, veteran-heavy team with only a handful of players who can be considered in the early part of their career. As such, head coach Frank Vogel has had to be smart about his practice schedule and balancing that with rest.
Until the last couple of weeks, the Lakers hadn’t had more than one day off between games during the season. That coupled with the number of injuries the team was dealing with and wanting to be sure the energy level was at an appropriate level for the game led Vogel to go with more film sessions and walkthroughs than full-on practices.
The Lakers also rarely do morning shootarounds and Vogel believes all of this extra rest ultimately benefits his team.
“We do as a group over the last couple of years have gotten almost entirely away from morning shootarounds,” Vogel said. “They’re all willing, you talk to them, you talk to the captains and we can do it in the morning, are we gonna have the Staples walkthrough in the afternoon, and they’re good with either way. But I personally have found that when we give them the morning off, they typically have more juice, you know what I mean?
“There’s still a time where sometimes you’re coming off an off day, it’s good to get guys in and just get that off day behind them. You make those calls as we go. But typically when we’re not having shootarounds in the morning, we have better energy at night with this group the last couple years and so far this year.”
It is a difficult balance to achieve for Vogel, especially with a Lakers team that needs more time on the court together to build that chemistry. But especially early on, with players being forced to play so many more minutes than expected, that rest was necessary. Now with losing some more players due to health and safety protocols, Vogel could again stick with more rest to ensure those he has available are good.
As Vogel noted, the players are willing to do the extra work and come in early, but it is up to him to figure out the best way to approach it and with this veteran team, the Lakers head coach has leaned towards the side of rest.
Davis ruled out for at least four weeks with knee injury
The Lakers’ latest injury was a costly one as Anthony Davis’ left knee was fallen on during Friday night’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves and he was officially diagnosed with an MCL sprain. The expectation is he will be re-evaluated in four weeks, so the Lakers will be without one of their stars for at least the next month.
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