Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has an extremely tall task ahead of him. Leading the Lakers to a championship while in a bubble at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, will be unlike anything the NBA has seen before.
Vogel will undoubtedly need to get creative to make it happen. Obviously, his two stars — LeBron James and Anthony Davis — will do a lot of heavy lifting, but it will take more than that to win it all.
The NBA decided that teams will be allowed to have 17 players on the roster in Orlando, as a way to offset any players that could miss time.
In a normal playoffs, teams would be allowed 15 roster spots, but only 13 active players per game. Vogel anticipates that — especially for the three scrimmage games and eight seeding games — that all 17 members of the Lakers roster will see the court.
“I would think we’re going to use everyone. Obviously we’ll base it on a game-by-game basis. The goal of these seeding games is to get us to go into the playoffs, just like it would be for the final eight games of a normal regular season, go into the playoffs as healthy and as sharp as we can be,” he said.
“Each day we’ll evaluate that and measure the balance there about which guys are going to be in, how many minutes they’re playing. Part of of guys like Kostas (Antetokounmpo) and Devonate (Cacok) being a part of this camp and practices and getting opportunities in those games is just from a coaching standpoint to sharpen all your assets, you never know who you’re going to need.
“If you leave those guys over there without an opportunity you may end up needing to call their their number at some point, they may not be as ready as you want them to be. We’ll be hopeful to get everybody some run in those games but at the same time we’re going to measure making sure that we’re as sharp as possible going into playoffs as well.”
The Lakers’ two-way players and rookie Horton-Tucker have seen almost zero time on the main roster this season. However, there may be a situation in which one or all three are needed, at which point they’ll need to be ready to go.
Even if they’re not inserted, the seeding games would be a perfect opportunity to give them some real NBA minutes. The Lakers have the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference all but locked up, meaning they may have some extra minutes to give their role players.
Either way, Vogel seems prepared for anything heading into the bubble. It will be interesting to see how he and other coaches handle such a unique situation.
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