Aside from Anthony Davis, arguably the biggest addition the Los Angeles Lakers made this offseason was that of DeMarcus Cousins.
The duo gives the Lakers potentially the best big man combination in the NBA and a post-heavy offense is something that has been right up head coach Frank Vogel’s alley in previous stops.
While with the Indiana Pacers, Vogel employed a very slow-paced offense with a lot of action coming off their two bigs in David West and Roy Hibbert. Davis and Cousins are far more talented than those two and with LeBron James also occupying the post at times, the template is there for an even better version.
However, Vogel believes they were different situations and doesn’t plan on doing the exact same thing with the Lakers as he did with the Pacers as he explained to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated:
It’s different. That approach was to try to be a power-post offense and pound it inside, you know, slow down the game a little bit in the halfcourt and play through the post. We’ll do that more here than I’ve done the last few years and more than the rest of the league does because of guys like DeMarcus, AD and LeBron. Those guys will get a lot of touches in there.
With that trio, it would be crazy to not have some post offense, but the game has changed since that time and Vogel knows he has to adapt. He pointed to the Golden State Warriors off-ball movement as an example of things he would like to see with these Lakers:
But I do think the game has changed even with post-offense where we want to create a model of movement out of the post and the shot being sort of the third and fourth option once the ball goes inside it that we want to generate movement and get guys cuts to the basket. I love what Golden State has done. As much as everyone talks about their pace and their break and their three-point shooting, their cutting is what I think a lot of people would say was their best attribute. And a lot of that action happened when the ball was in the post. So, we will take advantage of that with the guys that I mentioned. But it will be very different than the offensive approach at least that we had in Indiana.
Vogel has been open about agreeing with some of the things former head coach Luke Walton tried to do for the 2018-19 NBA season. Walton played with pace and focused on shooting, but the Lakers didn’t always have the best roster to execute it.
It is apt that Vogel pointed to the Warriors ball and player movement as a model for what he wants and the post is a great spot to operate from considering the team’s roster build. Davis, Cousins, and James are all excellent scorers and playmakers out of the post so while Vogel may not just pound it down low all game, initiating offense from there could be their best move to maximize their talent.