One of the biggest questions marks going into the 2021-22 season was what the Los Angeles Lakers’ center rotation would look like. Even though they brought in both Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan, many hoped Anthony Davis would start and play a majority of his minutes at center.
To this point, it hasn’t played out that way. While Davis has started some games at center, a majority of the starts have gone to Jordan, whose play has been subpar.
Frank Vogel finally seemed to make a switch in the win over the Sacramento Kings when Howard was inserted for Jordan just four minutes into the game, with the former playing a total of 35 minutes and the latter watching the rest of the game from the bench.
After Thursday’s practice, Vogel revealed he plans to stick with that as Howard will start Friday night’s game against the L.A. Clippers and only one true center will get minutes in each game.
“We made the decision a couple games ago that because trying to play both of those guys in really short minutes, it didn’t really feel easy for one to get into a rhythm. So we made a decision to only use one of them unless, obviously, we had foul trouble or whatnot. And it was DeAndre for a bit. I decided in the middle of the first quarter of last game that I wanted to see what Dwight could do and it was Dwight for the rest of that game.
“And I do intend to start Dwight tomorrow against the Clippers, but it will be a situation where we monitor really on a game-to-game basis going forward, but with the intention of just giving those center minutes to one player and not two, whether it’s DeAndre or Dwight.”
Howard had arguably his best game of the season against the Kings, recording 12 points, 13 rebounds, two steals and two blocks while being a +27. So it makes sense to give him an opportunity to start, especially considering how poorly Jordan has looked with that group for a majority of the season.
Vogel: Everyone understand ‘bigger picture’
While being completely out of the rotation at times can be difficult for a veteran of Jordan’s stature, Vogel made sure to note that conversations have been had with all his players and everyone is on board when it comes to making sacrifices for the good of the team.
“Everybody that signed on with us this year understands the bigger picture of this is a team that’s trying to compete for a championship and sacrifice is gonna be required at times. All of those conversations have been super healthy and well-received.”
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