Although Frank Vogel was considered to be the Los Angeles Lakers’ third choice for their head coaching job, he has done an excellent job in managing the roster and getting them to buy in on both ends of the floor.
His collaborative approach and willingness to make adjustments has helped propel the Lakers to a 40-12 record, something that perhaps not even the most hopeful fans or analysts could have predicted heading into the 2019-20 NBA season.
So far, Vogel has stuck with the same lineups from a game-to-game basis but against the Phoenix Suns, he shortened his rotation. In his postgame conference, Vogel explained what happened over the course of the night to prompt the change.
“It was not my intent to go with a nine-man rotation. We were going to just tweak the rotation a little bit to bring Bron back in the first quarter and the third quarter with that unit. We’ve been struggling to close out those quarters and get Anthony out a little bit sooner and bring him back sooner, but bring LeBron back sooner,” Vogel said.
“There was a plan for Alex to get in there but Rondo was playing at such a high level I extended his minutes which just pushed Alex’s minutes out. But I still intend to use a 10-man rotation.”
LeBron James did indeed come out a little earlier in the first and third quarters, but ended up closing it out with the lineup that normally begins the second and fourth quarters. However, as Vogel mentioned, Rajon Rondo had his best scoring night of the season, putting up 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting, including draining four out of his five three-point attempts.
Opposing teams have been more than happy to let Rondo shoot open jumpers as he has historically not been very proficient from the three-point line but against Phoenix, he had it going early on and never let up. Alex Caruso has endeared himself to Lakers fans with his energy and effort on both ends of the floor, but Rondo’s hot shooting was more than enough to put an undermanned Suns team away.
A 10-man rotation for this version of the Lakers makes sense as there is enough talent on the team to help them get through the rigors of the regular season. While James and Davis continue to carry most of the burden for the purple and gold, it will be up to their bench to help them get over the top.