Frank Vogel: Lakers May Have To ‘Live With Some’ Turnovers From Primary Ballhandlers
(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

As the Los Angeles Lakers exit the preseason and enter the regular season, they are hoping to leave behind some of the bad habits they exhibited during their 0-6 stretch. Yes, injuries were a major contributing factor, but turnovers and sloppy defense plagued Frank Vogel’s team as well.

The Lakers’ three primary ballhandlers — Russell Westbrook, LeBron James and Rajon Rondo — combined for a whopping 11.8 turnovers per game, something that simply cannot happen during the regular season. Westbrook, in particular, struggled with ball security, committing nearly six turnovers a game by himself.

Vogel spoke about the team’s tendency to give up the ball during the preseason, saying that cutting down on carelessness is a must. But also that turnovers are a part of the equation when it comes to elite passers. “There’s an upshot and enormous level of creativity with those guys. They’re exceptional with their vision,” Vogel said of Westbrook, James and Rondo.

“There definitely is an element of it’s going to come with some turnovers, but we just don’t want to be careless. We want to value the ball, value the possession mindset that we’re pushing those guys to do. It got really out of control in the first half last night to the point where we talked about there’s new pieces and new teammates and then there’s just being careless. We were just being careless.

“We did a lot better job in the second half protecting the basketball and that’s going to be the mindset going forward. Hopefully, that carelessness stays in the preseason. But there is an element of you have to get the passing and the assists you have to live with some of that.”

Turnovers are a part of the game, especially with ball-dominant players like Westbrook and James. However, the goal has to be to limit them so that it doesn’t become a nightly issue. With Westbrook, it has been in most of the past few seasons.

Perhaps flipping the script to the regular season is all the Lakers need to take better care of the ball. With a new scheme and a ton of new players, it may just take time.

Carmelo Anthony believes Westbrook is still adapting to Lakers

Lakers veteran Carmelo Anthony spoke about Westbrook and why the Lakers are different from any other team he’s played for recently.

“It’s different,” Anthony explained. “It’s different, in OKC, it was his show and he was the anchor of that. And I think we did a great job putting this group together so that everybody could kind of be their own anchor to get what we were trying to accomplish. And then we all know Bron, we all know AD, but everybody else, we have to be anchors too for this to work.

“So Russ has to be who Russ is. Him coming here, him coming home, that’s always a different feeling. Maybe he’s trying to figure it out, I don’t know. But I know being home is a special feeling, I had the opportunity to play in New York and being back in front of family and friends every night, being home, it’s a big difference. I think you guys will see that with Russ once he gets going.”

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