If the Los Angeles Lakers are to bring home their 17th NBA championship this season, Anthony Davis will have to be a dominant force. Though LeBron James is the leader of the team, it is Davis who is the ultimate mismatch that opponents don’t have an answer for.
With the Lakers having little to play for in their final seeding game against the Sacramento Kings, aside from getting a rhythm ahead of the playoffs, head coach Frank Vogel made the decision to sit out four rotation players, including Davis.
He was listed as being out with a sore right knee and though it was largely arbitrary, Davis’ history of knee issues led to some concerns. But Vogel quickly quelled those worries in regards to Davis sitting out.
“It’s precaution, no concern,” Vogel said ahead of the Lakers’ loss to the Kings.
What likely led to some of the questions was the fact that James did suit up for the Lakers, though he only played 15 minutes and sat out the entire second half. But this was due to the fact that Vogel gave his veterans the choice of playing.
James, JaVale McGee and Danny Green elected to take the court. Like James, Green didn’t see the court in the second half.
Along with Davis, Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope all sat out final seeding game, but none are believed to be in any real danger of missing time once the playoffs begin.
Davis led Lakers in points, rebounds, steals and blocks this season, further proving to be worth every thing the team traded away to acquire him last summer. The NBA restart was an up-and-down showing for Davis as he alternated dominant outings with some lifeless performances.
But being worried over that is far better than an injury concern, and there are none of those surrounding Davis.
Frank Vogel may use deep rotation, stagger Davis and James in playoffs
The Lakers are finally set to begin the playoffs and one thing many have been trying to figure out is how the rotation will look once. Most teams tend to shorten up their rotation as stars play longer minutes and coaches go only with those they trust most.
Vogel was adamant about using seeding games to evaluate all options for his rotation. But it doesn’t seem like he’ll be shortening his rotation too much once the playoffs start. “I traditionally will go in continuing to use my depth and then adjust as the series goes along. That will be the same thing with our group here,” Vogel said.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that can play, that I trust, that can contribute. We’ll see what each of those skillsets fits that series and opponent.”
Just as important for Vogel will be how he uses James and Davis, and he plans on at least one of the two being on the floor at all times. “We’ll probably stick with that,” he said.
“I think with what Kuz is doing and the way Alex has been playing, we have some lineups that we can put out there and have confidence in even if LeBron and A.D. are not part of it. But we likely will have one of those two guys in the game.”
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