In just two days, LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers will tip-off their regular season campaign and — health permitting — it promises to be the team’s most exciting season in several years. However, because of the dramatic changes the team went through in the offseason, it’s going to take some time for them to reach their full potential and they know that.
Earlier this week, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said that while he’s like what he’s seen from his team so far, he knows that there is still a ton of work to be done.
“We’ve still got a long way to go and we’ve got less than a week now to get there. Even by opening night, we’re not going to be a finished product with the distracting preseason, but we’re just making the best of it. We’ll be ready to go,” Vogel said.
Danny Green reiterated that message after practice on Sunday, saying the first few games on the regular season schedule will be like practice games — even though they’ll count for something in the wins and losses column (via @Lakers):
“Everybody’s excited to get the season started, but we know we’re nowhere near where we want to be at — most teams aren’t. So, even though it’s regular season, these games are going to be very much like preseason games. We just try to get better and win as we’re getting better and getting to learn each other — learn the systems, learn our identity and also how to play other teams and other team’s identity. But we’re excited from all angles: From the players, to the coaches, to staff to the fans and we’re going to have some fun with it but we’re not nowhere where we want to be.”
Vogel has previously said that the Lakers have had the quickest learning curve of any team he’s been a part of and considering he’s been a coach for nearly 20 years, that’s high praise. What that doesn’t mean, though, is that Vogel is going to take any shortcuts with Los Angeles — mostly because he can’t.
With Anthony Davis on an expiring contract and LeBron James turning 35 in December, Vogel’s margin for error is thin, and that’s operating under the assumption that there is a margin for error.
Luckily for both him and the Lakers, things seem to be going well so far. Let’s hope that stays true through their growing pains together.