The Los Angeles Lakers limped into the All-Star break, going just 3-7 in their final 10 to bring their first-half record to 24-13. Head coach Frank Vogel has had some trouble figuring out offensive schemes with Anthony Davis and others missing games, even while the defense has remained atop the league.
A string of play like the Lakers just went through could be very concerning. Several teams exposed weaknesses on both ends of the floor, such as the inability to hit threes consistently, protect the rim and take care of the ball. the All-Star break was desperately needed, and hopefully a nine-day break between games will put them back on track.
Vogel is confident in that being the case, as the recent losses have not done anything to cause long-term concern. “Very confident in what we can accomplish this year,” Vogel said. “This season is a marathon, it’s about looking at a lot of different combinations and integrating new players and building habits that are gonna win for you in the playoffs.”
“Whether you’re winning or losing, you have a growth mindset. So I’m not concerned with the recent losses, our guys are competing well, we’re undermanned and guys are getting more opportunities, and those guys that are getting opportunities are growing in our system. Very confident in what we can accomplish this year.”
This is exactly the type of tone that Vogel had last season. He stressed that he was okay with sacrificing regular-season wins if it meant having a clearer vision of what he wants to do in the postseason.
The difference is that last year’s Lakers were figuring things out while consistently winning. Through 37 games in 2019-20, L.A. was a remarkable 30-7, better than the current NBA-leading Utah Jazz.
At the end of the day, the Lakers are the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference and are tied for the NBA’s fourth-best record. They are also only 3.5 games back of the Jazz, so they could easily make a run. As fans learned last season, if Vogel says he isn’t worried, there likely isn’t a reason to be worried.
Morris believes All-Star break will benefit team mentally and physically
Beyond just Vogel, it seems the entire team was patiently waiting for the All-Star break as a chance to reset. Markieff Morris spoke about this and the impact that rest will have on them.
“I think both, man,” Morris said. “I think mentally it is definitely going to be a great break for all of us. I don’t think any of us has played basketball this much. You never really get a break, even on days off you have to test twice a day or we’re flying or doing something.
“Mentally you never really get a break from basketball. I think we played this whole month without having two days off. Probably twice the whole year we’ve had two days off.That’s new to all of us. I’m mentally drained. I know a lot of guys on my team are mentally drained, but it’s not an excuse. We’ll have six or seven days off to regroup to prepare for the second half of the season. Just get our rest.”
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