The winds of change are blowing in Los Angeles. Not only do the Lakers have a completely different roster, they have been learning a completely different offence too.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel opened up on his grand plan.
“We’re flowing into our offense this year,” he said. “We’re encouraging more randomness and more cutting, just to keep the defence off guard (with) less predictability.”
LA’s new game plan figures to open things up on offence, and if all goes to plan, ease the potentially awkward fit between players like LeBron James and Russell Westbrook. However, Vogel says there is more to it than that.
“We just want to clear the elbows as much as we can, and if that means Russ or Rondo (cutting) out there, great,” Vogel said. “If that means (Carmelo Anthony), or Malik (Monk) or (Kendrick) Nunn or somebody like that is up there, that’s great too.
“We want to give our playmakers as much space as we can,” Vogel said. “Just emphasizing the movement off those cuts, and then the reshapes out of those is something we’re trying to do with all our guys.”
“(We’re) just asking guys to make reads off of each other. If A happens, B has got to happen, if B happens, C has got to happen, and just trying to teach them intelligent movement through randomness. That’s something we are preaching this year.”
While the Lakers went 0-6 in the preseason, Vogel’s vision showed flashes of potential, with all that space and constant cutting opening up opportunities at the rim.
File this away as something of note. Even with two bigs out there, the positioning of those bigs matters quite a bit when it comes to space. AD in the corner, DJ up top, and LeBron at the elbow. With no player in the dunker, Westbrook's cut allows him to attack an empty paint. pic.twitter.com/dNsRuolGvj
— Alex Regla (@AlexmRegla) October 15, 2021
James also spoke about the Lakers’ new offence, saying it would take a lot of pressure of himself and Westbrook in particular. LeBron, who has historically been heavily relied upon to score and create, said the team’s new system would take some pressure off of Westbrook and himself.
“We’ve grown so accustomed, over the years, to having teams keying in on us when we bring the ball in transition,” James said. “Defences are loading early, not wanting us to get into the paint and break the defence down.
“Now when both of us are on different sides, if one of us is bringing the ball down and we get the defence shifting on this side — a quick swing to the other side and now we’re able to go without a set of three or four eyes looking at us. It’s just constant pressure that we’re going to put on a defence.”
Of course, learning a new system with a new roster takes time. But Vogel says he is betting that his players’ collective basketball IQ will prevail, even if there are some growing pains along the way.