While the head coach always gets the majority of praise, Frank Vogel has always gone out of his way to give credit to Los Angeles Lakers assistants. Due to his name and status, Jason Kidd has tended to get the most attention when it comes to Lakers assistant coaches, but veteran Lionel Hollins has long been one of the most respected names amongst NBA coaches.
Hollins has more than 500 games of head coaching experience between both the Memphis Grizzlies and Brooklyn Nets; he even led the Grizzlies to the Western Conference Finals in 2013. Vogel values the opinions of all of his coaches and when Hollins was unable to be with the Lakers inside the bubble on their way to winning the 2020 championship, the team still involved Hollins.
Now the Lakers will be without Hollins for the time being, as according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, he is away from the team due to personal reasons and won’t travel for the road matchup against the Utah Jazz:
Lakers assistant coach Lionel Hollins is not with the team for tonight's game vs. WAS for personal reasons, according to a Lakers spokesperson. Hollins will not be traveling with LAL for the game in Utah on Wednesday, either.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) February 23, 2021
The Lakers are in the midst of a rough stretch to say the least as they have dropped three straight after an overtime loss to the Washington Wizards. With their next game against the red-hot Jazz, the shorthanded Lakers might actually be underdogs for the first time this season.
The Lakers coaching staff is a close group and losing a voice like Hollins, who commands such respect, makes a difficult situation even more challenging. The team needs every hand on deck, be it player and coach to get through this time without both Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder, and having Hollins’ input is valuable for this team.
Lakers looking for opportunities to get LeBron rest
One thing that Vogel and the coaching staff has been trying to do recently is get some rest for LeBron James whose minutes have skyrocketed, especially without Davis. Being down Schroder and Davis make it tougher.
“We’re always looking for opportunities to make sure we give LeBron appropriate rest,” Vogel said.
“After the All-Star break we still don’t know what the schedule looks like, but hopefully they build in some appropriate time for those guys to get their legs under them and get the rest that the guys who aren’t in the All-Star Game are going to get. Like we do all year, we’ll continue to evaluate that on a day-by-day basis.”
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