For the first time in a long time, the Los Angeles Lakers are home to two of the NBA’s best players.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis are a power duo unlike any the league currently has and if it all goes to plan, they should be able to cement the Lakers in championship contention. General manager Rob Pelinka and head coach Frank Vogel have also done a great job surrounding them with talent like Danny Green, Avery Bradley, Dwight Howard, and Rajon Rondo.
Rondo and James were the only two of these named players on last season’s team. However, despite the two of them being known for their basketball IQ, they were absolutely terrible on the floor together. In two-man lineups that shared at least 500 minutes together for the Lakers last season (of which there were 26), the combination of Rondo and James ranked in the bottom seven in offensive rating, defensive rating, and net rating, while being top-five in pace and turnovers.
Because of this, Vogel will be doing the smart thing and not only staggering those two but also James and Davis to make sure there’s always an All-Star player on the floor.
“There’s obviously going to be a common-sense approach to staggering A.D. and LeBron to make sure one of those guys is out there,” Vogel said following practice.
“To me, it’s going to be important to make sure that we stagger Rajon and LeBron, too. And let each of them have their turn running the show, being the primary ball-handler out there. And obviously, they’re going to play a ton together as well, but staggering those guys is on my mind as well.”
This is already better than what fans heard from head coach Luke Walton last season, who absolutely refused the concept of staggering his best players.
James and Brandon Ingram — who for a time was clearly the team’s second best player — were never staggered. Rondo and James, who both perform point guard duties offensively and take major breaks defensively, saw 18 minutes a game together over a 35-game span.
Vogel obviously still has a lot to prove as the team’s new head coach, but he already seems to be better equipped to run the Lakers than the previous staff. And if Vogel can successfully stagger James, Davis, and Rondo, it ensures there will be no bad lineups capable of losing a game for them, which is something fans became all too familiar with.