The NBA restart in Orlando is just around the corner as the Los Angeles Lakers will play exhibition games this week before opening up their seeding games against the L.A. Clippers on July 30.
With a short period of time to get prepared for a playoff run after a four-month layoff, the Lakers are making the most of their practice time. The team has been active on a near-daily basis since clearing quarantine, but it’s come with some logistical challenges.
“You do have your mind on the fact that it’s very different,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said of being in the bubble environment. “The biggest thing for me right now is you don’t go home to your family. You go to your hotel room and look at a screen to be with your family.
“And the practice times have really been all over the place; 6 p.m. at night, to now 9 a.m. in the morning. It’s different every day and now you don’t have control over it. We’ve had to tinker with what we do based on those practice times.
“But other than that, you do your work. You go to practice, get done with practice and meet with your staff a little bit, you watch the film, evaluate, make notes and see what you’ve got to work on the next day. It’s not too different.”
The NBA is in control of practice times for teams, as each is given a three-hour window. A cleaning crew then scrubs each court before the next team begins to use it.
While it is far from an ideal set of circumstances, Vogel believes players have adjusted, which he pointed to the Lakers’ staff for being key with that process.
“I want to credit our sports performance team and assistant coaches,” Vogel said. “I feel really good with the pace we’ve tried to restart with our group. The amount of load they’re getting with each practice, I think has been done at an intelligent level. Hopefully we can continue that.”
Despite the unusual practice hours and limited time together as a team, Vogel has still been impressed with what he has seen from some of his players, including Kyle Kuzma. The Lakers’ unquestioned leader is LeBron James, of course, and Vogel has also singled him out as well so far in Orlando.
Vogel believes bubble environment will keep Lakers focused
With such unusual circumstances with all of the teams together at hotels at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, it might not be easy to keep focused on the task at hand.
The Lakers are one of the favorites to win the championship, and Vogel doesn’t think that’s an issue for them. “I think the environment helps our focus, because this is an environment that really is only about basketball,” he said.
“There’s not a lot else for anybody to do, so there’s less distractions, less noise, so managing the two together is probably easier than an ordinary situation.”
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