The 2021-22 NBA season officially got underway on Wednesday for the Los Angeles Lakers as they held their first practice of training camp.
This training camp and preseason will be extremely important for the Lakers considering they have essentially a brand-new roster with on LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Talen Horton-Tucker returning from last year’s team.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel will have a lot of things to sort out, with the main being what his starting lineup will look like. Everyone knows James, Davis and Russell Westbrook will be in, but who the other two players will be remains to be seen, especially considering it’s not yet clear if Davis will start at center or power forward.
While the Lakers did do some 5-on-5 scrimmages during their first practice, Vogel kept it coy who was playing alongside his Big 3.
“We had those three guys on the same team for a stretch and the other two guys rotated throughout practice,” Vogel said. “There was a lot of different combinations that we looked at and we’ll continue to change that up from practice to practice.”
One thing that was certain though is that the Lakers went a lot harder in their first practice compared to last season when Vogel eased them into things coming off a short offseason.
He gave some insight into who his practices will look like as well as how much his main guys will play in the Lakers’ six preseason games, the first of which is on Sunday after the Brooklyn Nets.
“We’re starting hard with practice, we’re going to go after it,” Vogel said. “Today, tonight will be a lot of system implementation, no contact with full-speed and in terms of the preseason games, just striking a balance. Our main guys are not going to play all the games. I don’t want to put a number on how many they’re going to play, but it’d be nice to probably get at least two games where our core is playing significant minutes together, if not the whole game. But it’s just a matter of striking that balance. The six games give us a luxury to play some of the guys towards the end of the bench too to get a better look at them.”
Vogel will have a lot of tough decisions to make before the start of the regular season in terms of not only who starts, but also how he will fill out his bench rotation considering they have 13 players that could be worthy of playing time.
It seems that everyone is focused on having a good camp though, which should help the Lakers get off to a quick start this season.
Vogel not yet emphasizing new rules in practice
Something else Vogel will have to focus on in practice is the NBA’s new officiating rules as offensive players can no longer lean into defenders to try to draw a whistle.
While the Lakers do have officials in their practices, Vogel revealed they have not yet begun emphasizing the new rules.
“No. We’re just calling fouls and our competitive guys don’t like to be called for fouls.”
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