Friday, May 27

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel suggests using LeBron James in center more often

Much of the conversation about the Los Angeles Lakers lineups has revolved around the use of Anthony Davis in all five.

In fact, Davis has increased his playing time at the position, with Glass cleaning showing 70 percent of his minutes reaching five so far in what would be the highest mark of his career.

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Despite the slump, the Lakers persist in starting a traditional great, with DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard absorbing minutes in the rotation.

That changed against the Detroit Pistons at STAPLES Center Sunday night, with Howard seeing no playing time, while Jordan logged just 20 minutes as a starter.

This was due in part to a revamped Lakers lineup in which LeBron James plays as the nominal five, with head coach Frank Vogel hinting that he could use the “centerless” lineup more frequently by moving forward.

Before the game against the Pistons, James had played one percent of your minutes at five, and he has never exceeded three percent in any of his 19 seasons in the league.

Vogel went on to say that the “centerless” lineup would mean either Jordan or Howard would win starting honors and the other would likely be eliminated depending on who they choose to play.

“This is part of our evolution as a team and learning what our identity is like”, Vogel said. “There’s a lot more room for Russ, Bron has room to be a roller to the basket, which was effective. We just have more interchangeability on the defensive side of the ball. I think that’s something we’re going to grow and we will.” . be part of our team in the future. “

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James, who had already missed an extended period this season with an abdominal injury, appeared to reach the area during the game, although he downplayed any suggestion of post-game damage. Given he’s still carrying such a heavy offensive load, it’s at least curious that the Lakers are also asking him to take responsibility for anchoring an already struggling defense.

The experiment is the continuation of a team trying to find the right combination. Although James ‘injuries and suspension have hampered the Lakers’ ability to find continuity early in the season, the results have not been nearly as impressive with Davis in all five thus far.

According to the cleanliness of the glass, the Lakers have a NET rating of -4.2 on 1,028 possessions with Davis on the floor, while Jordan and Howard are on the bench. The defensive end has been particularly worrisome, with Los Angeles giving up 112.9 points per 100 possessions in those lineups. That number would rank 29th in the entire league, with only the Memphis Grizzlies posting a worse defensive rating of 114.8.

“That’s why our lives are difficult right now. Because we are not fully committed,” Vogel said of the Lakers defense.

After outscoring the Pistons for a 110-106 victory, the Lakers have now risen to .500. The trio of James, Davis and Russell Westbrook combined for 82 of 110 points, but like many of this team’s victories thus far, it was far from convincing.

Regardless of the mixed results, the Lakers remain one of the most intriguing teams in the league to watch. Now to find out how LeBron’s experiment works in the center.

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