The Los Angeles Lakers’ rotation has narrowed down in recent weeks, allowing them to play with a more defined style compared to the beginning of the 2021-22 season. But L.A.’s minute assignments are set to change again with the return of Anthony Davis and Kendrick Nunn.
Head coach Frank Vogel has already said that Nunn “is going to get a ton of minutes” after he makes his season debut for the Lakers. Vogel pointed out the 26-year-old’s addition to the rotation will come at the expense of another player.
Similarly, Davis will jump right back into the Lakers’ starting lineup upon his return, becoming L.A.’s go-to choice at the center again.
“I think you’re gonna see Anthony playing a lot at the five and then when Anthony is out, we have the lineups that we’ve been playing right now with LeBron basically playing point center,” Vogel said.
“It is a direction that I think we’re gonna land with this group towards the second half of the season and one we’re seeing obvious benefits for right now that we feel like we’re gonna be even more enhanced when Anthony gets back.”
Vogel added the Lakers will avoid drastic changes to their system, explaining the units with James playing as center aren’t much different from the lineups featuring Davis at the five.
“A lot of similar concepts for both of those guys and that’s the beauty of them, they’re both versatile as playmakers and screeners,” the head coach said.
“What we’ve done is just open up the paint and we feel like it’s gonna benefit both of those guys in that role.”
Davis was given a four-week timeline for re-evaluation after injuring his knee in mid-December, meaning the Lakers should provide an update on his status sometime this week.
James assesses Lakers’ first half of 2021-22 season
The Lakers endured a difficult first half of the season, arriving at the halfway mark with a 21-20 record. But James thinks the Purple and Gold are on the right path.
“I think as of late, before tonight, we’ve played some really good basketball,” James said after the 127-119 loss to the Grizzlies, asked to assess the first half of the season. “We want to continue to trend over the next 42. Like I said, the best thing about our ballclub right now is that we’re getting healthy. We’re logging minutes, we’re getting some good chemistry and obviously, we played a great team tonight.
“I feel like that’s a really well-coached team, they have a lot of good firepower on that team and they’ve been playing well throughout the whole season. But I feel like if we continue to do what we’ve been doing over the last couple of weeks, probably the last month, then we’ll play much better in the second half than we did in the first.”
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