The Los Angeles Lakers were dealt a few critical blows going into the NBA season restart with Avery Bradley opting out and assistant coach Lion Hollins not being permitted to travel with the team due to being evaluated as a high-risk case for the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Hollins was admittedly upset with not being able to join the Lakers in their quest for a 17th NBA title following a prolonged hiatus from basketball. Fortunately, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel was still adamant about making sure that he was able to contribute to the cause from home.
Despite his absence, Hollins has made his presence felt during staff meetings. Although not having him there has come with its own set of challenges, Vogel is hoping that the outside perspective can avoid any potential groupthink that may occur during their stay at the bubble.
Regardless, Hollis is still left on the outside looking in at the end of the day. According to Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times, he acknowledged some of the difficulties of not being there in person but is making the most of it:
“I miss being around the players,” Hollins said. “When you’re in a gym, you’re in the meeting rooms, you’re on the bus. That’s the big part of the culture and life we live. The camaraderie in the group. Not being there you’re kind of separated. Even in the meetings. Even though they can hear me talking, it’s not the same as when you’re in the room with the group. It’s a little bit disconnecting. But not anything you can’t overcome.”
Hollins’ comments are certainly understandable considering all the major changes that have occurred following an unprecedented season. The fact that the Lakers became such a tight-knit group during that time has only amplified those feelings of missing out.
It is encouraging to see that Hollins is maintaining an optimistic outlook on the whole ordeal. The onus will now fall on him to help kick things up a notch with playoffs in full swing.
Vogel proud of team pushing through tough year
Even prior to the shutdown, it had been a roller-coaster season for the Lakers both on and off the court. Vogel is happy to see that the trials and tribulations have seemingly made them better for it.
“No one could have foreseen the way this year was going to play out. It was full of challenges, but adversity strengthens you,” he said.
“It gives you an opportunity for your group to come together, and I feel like our group is very tied together and confident in what we can accomplish. Hopefully we can persevere through all that stuff and go on a heck of a run.”
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