During portions of this preseason, the Los Angeles Lakers operated on a level bordering on unfair — especially in minutes featuring both Anthony Davis and LeBron James. Some of that had to do with a singularly great matchup in the Lakers’ favor given how often they played the Golden State Warriors, but still, it was a mostly impressive preseason slate.
Frank Vogel says he’s liked a lot of what he’s seen, but that there is still progress to be made, and it starts with sharing the ball (via Lakers.com):
“If we commit to the extra pass and share the basketball, we’re going to be near unbeatable... Defensively our numbers looked outstanding, but on the tape there is a long way to go. There is a lot of room for improvement, and that was the point of our film session this morning.”
Vogel went on to say he’d like to see the Lakers average at least 25 assists per game, a number that would have put them just above league average from last year (24.6). He said he particularly liked how the starting group moved the ball:
”I think our sharing was at its best since we started this group being together. We’re improving our execution pieces, that’s getting guys that are in better positions attacking that basket, and then when we’re thinking extra pass, we’ve got shooters to make the defense pay.”
What Vogel wants to avoid, though, is over-passing or careless passing. When asked about turnovers, he said he’d like to average fewer than they did in the preseason, and preferably to 10 to 12 per game (or lower, obviously) — though not all turnovers are made equal:
”I don’t mind shot clock turnovers because if we’re trying to explore each possession for a great shot, you’re going to run into that sometimes. That’s better than a live-ball turnover. We’ll continue to work on that.”
One way to overcome a relative lack of primary creators is to rely on systemic ball movement. In order to achieve this, though, you need everyone on the court to remain on the same page and understand the concept of passing up an okay or good look for a better one, and not through dribbling.
It also feels notable that Vogel once again singled out the likely starting lineup of Avery Bradley, Danny Green, James, Davis and JaVale McGee if for no other reason than Rajon Rondo isn’t included in that group.
No, I’m never going to drop this.
James is obviously going to carry most of the burden of creativity on this team, but the roster is littered with smart basketball players who understand the concept of where the ball should naturally go as the defense rotates from initial actions. So long as the Lakers continue to abide those concepts, Vogel’s goal of 25 assists per game is pretty feasible.