Even though the NBA is set to return soon, the ongoing global pandemic has forced changes across all organizations, including the Los Angeles Lakers.
Teams were under strict guidelines for the number of people who could travel to bubble in Orlando, Florida, with Lakers assistant Lionel Hollins not coming with the team and helping out remotely. This has led to some adjustments for head coach Frank Vogel, and has even gotten vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka involved.
The Lakers have begun doing what they call ‘flex staffing’ in which everyone steps up in whatever role is necessary to help the franchise and team overall. It led to some interesting moments in which Vogel got to order Pelinka around in practice.
“Well that’s always a good reversal, right?,” Vogel said in a recent teleconference. “Doesn’t everybody wish we could all do that for a little bit?
“He’s been wonderful. He’s led our group with the encouragement that everybody is going to be in flex staffing and willing to do any job to help out. He’s been out rebounding a little bit, and I actually used he and myself in one of our drills.”
— Lakers Nation (@LakersNation) July 12, 2020
Leadership is important in any organization and when a team sees someone at the top being willing to get involved in anything that can help them succeed, it invigorates and motivates everyone else.
Pelinka’s willingness to work was also demonstrated by Vogel, as the two had to become makeshift objects during a drill.
“I didn’t see any available cones, so I stood off one elbow, he stood off the other, and the players had to run around us,” Vogel explained. “We served as cones in practice, which was different for both of us. Honestly, the group we have here, we’re having a lot of fun. This idea that we all have to pick up slack, carry a couple extra bags, we’re all buying into it and embracing it.”
The Lakers have always considered themselves a family-run business. Where other organizations are more business-like, the Lakers are extremely close knit from top to bottom. The chemistry of the team gets a lot of attention, but Pelinka and Vogel working together like this shows that chemistry stretches throughout the entire franchise.
Vogel says LeBron James has been outstanding in practices
The Lakers have been able to get some practices in since arriving in Orlando and while it is great to see Pelinka helping out wherever needed, it’s the players and how they’re looking that is most important. Thankfully, the team’s leader, LeBron James, is setting the tone.
“It’s really remarkable how well he’s been able to stay in shape, stay ready, to be sharp. It’s as if there wasn’t a layoff at all. He’s playing at a really high level,” Vogel said.
From the top down the Lakers have been on point. From Pelinka to Vogel to James, the team is on one accord as they push towards their championship goal.
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