It feels like the Los Angeles Lakers have been treading water through the first quarter of the 2021-22 season.
At 10-11, the Lakers are far from being the team many predicted they would be in the offseason as there are several factors working against them. The primary factor has been health as LeBron James and Anthony Davis have already dealt with injuries while projected rotation pieces in Trevor Ariza and Kendrick Nunn have yet to make their debuts due to ankle and knee injuries, respectively.
Head coach Frank Vogel has had to juggle lineups each night and he admitted that missing Ariza and Nunn has prevented the organization from seeing the full potential of the roster. “Not having Trevor [Ariza] and Kendrick [Nunn] has not enabled us to see what we’re really gonna look like when both of those guys are available,” Vogel explained.
“Not having Talen [Horton-Tucker] for a large part of the season, also, and then obviously having LeBron being out of the lineup a lot and then AD, the disjointed nature of that, we haven’t really been able to see what the vision of this roster is gonna look like. We’ve seen some of it with who we’ve had in, but there’s still a lot to be determined.”
Although they have yet to play in meaningful games, Vogel said Ariza and Nunn are going to get chances to show they deserve minutes each game.
“They’re gonna have to opportunity and obviously you can’t make any true evaluations until you see what they look like with our group. But we signed them to be contributors and when they get healthy they’re gonna get the opportunity to.”
It is easy to see how Ariza and Nunn fit on the roster as the former will immediately step in and be arguably their best 3-and-D position player while the latter adds an element of playmaking both on and off the ball.
While they have been out, the other role players have done their best to step up and fill the voids, though getting Ariza and Nunn back would be a major boost.
Wayne Ellington believes that the Purple and Gold’s best basketball is ahead of them, and it is hard to argue that point once everyone is healthy.
LeBron James sees lineups Lakers can build off of
Vogel has had to change rotations on the fly because of injuries but he may have stumbled on a potent one after he played LeBron James at center in their win over the Indiana Pacers.
James saw the benefits of him manning the paint and the star admitted he can see lineups the team should be able to build off of.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!