Gabe Vincent Believes Lakers Are ‘Definitely Close’ To Competing With Nuggets
Gabe Vincent, Nikola Jokic, Lakers, Nuggets
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into a first-round matchup with the defending champion Denver Nuggets, the Los Angeles Lakers needed to play their best basketball of the year. A catalyst of that was Gabe Vincent, who needed to contain Jamal Murray and make life hard for the Nuggets guard during his minutes on the floor.

Despite only being able to play 11 regular season games, there was some pressure on Vincent to be a positive perimeter defender for the Lakers to have a chance. Surprisingly, the former Miami Heat guard held his own and played some great defense on Murray, who struggled to shoot the ball efficiently.

However, L.A. lost in five games to Denver, shooting themselves in the foot as they led for 69% of the series. After losing 11 straight to the reigning champions, the Lakers snapped that in Game 4, yet there is a gap between the two teams. On the contrary, Vincent believes the purple and gold are not far off in terms of competing with the Nuggets.

“Definitely close,” he said after the Game 5 loss. “I think we played them very well the entire series. It’s just they’re are a team you have to play 48 minutes against. Forty-three isn’t enough, 45 isn’t enough, 46 isn’t enough. They’re very, very talented and well-coached and well-organized unit over there. Credit to them, like I said.”

Heading into the 2023-24 season, L.A. championed continuity and running it back with last year’s team. Yet coming into the playoffs, the depth surrounding Anthony Davis and LeBron James were not consistent enough.

For Denver, the likes of Michael Porter Jr., Aaron Gordon and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope showed up more consistently in comparison to the Lakers. Now with the offseason looming for the purple and gold, there need to be some upgrades so the team can compete with the Western Conference that is slated to be even more competitive next season.

How Vincent plays into that remains to be seen, but he showed that if he’s healthy he can be a solid rotation player for L.A.

Gabe Vincent: Everyone in Lakers organization wanted Nuggets at some point in playoffs

As the Lakers prepared for another Play-In Tournament appearance, there was a lot of chatter amongst the fanbase on what L.A. should do to match up with the right team in the first round. While there were valid reasons for the Lakers to tank their Play-In game with a chance to play the Oklahoma City Thunder, it is not something they seriously considered.

If the purple and gold were serious about winning a championship, they knew they had to go through the Nuggets sooner or later. Vincent revealed that everyone in the organization wanted Denver at some point in the playoffs, but they were unfortunately unable to get their revenge.

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