With the NBA’s restart underway at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, the Los Angeles Lakers have officially resumed their pursuit of the franchise’s 17th championship.
The Lakers have been the best team in the Western Conference all season, becoming the first to win 50 games when they defeated the L.A. Clippers in their opening seeding game on Thursday night. Led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers look as focused as ever, picking up right where they left off before the season was shut down.
As a veteran team with a ton of experience, the Lakers do some things differently than a lot of others in the league. Teams typically have a morning shootaround on game days for players to get up shots up and to receive treatment from the training staff.
That also gives the media an opportunity to speak with a head coach and some players. The Lakers had a shootaround for most games prior to the season being shut down in March.
Now in the bubble, the Lakers didn’t have any sort of formal shootaround before Saturday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors. According to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, it’s not a practice James or Davis are particularly keen on:
The Lakers, though, are averse to not only practicing, but shooting around on game days. They do have players who go to the gym to get up shots, but it’s voluntary and LeBron often isn’t there. I’ve gone so far as to say this whole situation, them having players gather in the mornings, but not call it a “shootaround,” is done to skirt rules about media access. The Lakers do not agree.
“LeBron James doesn’t want to do it (shootaround), Anthony Davis doesn’t want to do it. They kick ass when we don’t do it, so that’s it,” said someone who would know.
Just because they aren’t having shootaround doesn’t mean players aren’t in the gym working as they still have the ability to do that on their own. It’s safe to assume Lakers players do regularly gather for informal work.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has been open about taking the temperature of the team through James and Davis, and working collaboratively to make decisions.
Changing practice times
Vogel recently discussed how inconsistent practice times have been in the bubble and how difficult it was to adjust to.
“The practice times have really been all over the place; 6 p.m. at night, to now 9 a.m. in the morning,” he noted. “It’s different every day and now you don’t have control over it. We’ve had to tinker with what we do based on those practice times.
“But other than that, you do your work. You go to practice, get done with practice and meet with your staff a little bit, you watch the film, evaluate, make notes and see what you’ve got to work on the next day. It’s not too different.”
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