Last week when discussing why the Los Angeles Lakers got off to such a slow starts and whether the team was making big adjustments coming out of halftime, Timofey Mozgov made an interesting statement.
“The most important adjustment you make is just play harder and more aggressive, and be more locked into the game... It's not about schemes or all this stuff,” Mozgov told Silver Screen and Roll, pausing for emphasis on the word schemes, and he would seem to have a point.
Before the Lakers’ current seven-game skid, what made them successful appeared to be how free they were playing and how much they were enjoying playing for each other at least as much as any specific plays or fundamentals. The team just seemed to have an un-quantifiable positive energy about them.
Mozgov reiterated that he thinks the Lakers’ successes have been more about executing the little things and energy than they are about schemes in a recent piece from Rachel Dobrin of Lakers.com:
“There’s not a lot of tactics for us,” he said. “We just try to play basketball and enjoy the game, play, move the ball, and stay together.” This strategy has worked for him thus far, and helps to characterize his previous years in the league. “There is nothing new that we do that somebody didn’t know before. We just enjoy basketball. Coach Walton has helped us a lot.”
Mozgov isn’t wrong that the Lakers aren’t doing anything the rest of the league hasn’t seen before. The team has borrowed concepts from the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Mike D’Antoni-Steve Nash Phoenix Suns, and even Walton’s time under Phil Jackson in the triangle offense. The Lakers are truly an amalgamation of many basketball styles.
Also, if you really boil it down, every team is essentially the same. All they are doing is putting a ball in the basket. The Lakers (and Timo) are just trying to have fun while they do it, and even with the recent slide, it’s led to plenty of unexpected success for this year as well.
It’s the latest batch of wisdom from Mozgov, who has already sneakily become one of the best quotes in the locker room:
Timofey Mozgov thinks the Lakers’ young core can ‘change the world’ https://t.co/4iq2B7NG0o pic.twitter.com/JXhpUG0bmL— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) September 26, 2016
Timofey Mozgov says the Lakers will have him shoot threes this season https://t.co/3WGJMyrKeL pic.twitter.com/a0GUpXnLVJ— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) October 6, 2016
Timofey Mozgov will undergo a CT scan after taking multiple blows to the head and is definitely tougher than you:https://t.co/5jsDsvcWdo pic.twitter.com/kQ8Wc8yeMl— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) November 2, 2016
Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.