The 2020-21 season has been the most bizarre in NBA history as teams have had to deal with the realities of playing during a pandemic.
Teams have been asked to play in empty arenas, undergo daily coronavirus (COVID-19) testing, and stay quarantined at home or in their hotel rooms on the road. Nothing has been easy, but so far players have done a good job complying with the rules and regulations set forth by the league.
One of the major drawbacks of the season has been the scheduling as teams are often playing nearly every other night, which does not leave much room for practice time. Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel admitted he wished he had more time with his roster to practice.
“I definitely do,” Vogel said. “I think execution suffers when you can’t get reps in to work on your habits. I felt that with our team, but it’s just the nature of what the whole league is going through right now. We’ve got to do the best we can to mentally improve in the film room every day, but certainly I would welcome more opportunities to be on the floor with our guys.”
The lack of practice team has been apparent in some games as the Lakers do not always look like they are on the same page. It shows particularly on the offensive end when players seem to devolve into isolation situations because Vogel has not had sufficient time to implement the full scope of his playbook.
Players have previously admitted they are learning on the fly during games, but that is to be expected when they are limited to just film work. Los Angeles should look better in the second half of the season after more time together, but everything’s still a work in progress.
Vogel on first practice post All-Star break
The All-Star break could not have come at a better time for the Lakers as they looked like a team that needed a reprieve, so it came as no surprise that Vogel opted to try and slowly get the players to ramp up during their first practice back.
“Got up and down in practice as much as we could to try to get their legs under them a little bit,” Vogel said. “It’s a little unsettling to have one practice after an eight, nine, 10-day rest to get guys back playing games, but this is the situation we are in. It’s out of our control, so we’ll make the best of it.”
The result was a win in their second-half opener against the Indiana Pacers, so hopefully they can build off that momentum moving forward.
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