The Los Angeles Lakers will only go as far as their superstar tandem of LeBron James and Anthony Davis will take them. With that being the case, it makes sense that they would have a say in, well, just about everything. This is by no means out of the ordinary in the NBA, but their relationship — as Frank Vogel painted it while speaking to reporters before L.A. lost to the Toronto Raptors on Sunday — is fascinating.
According to Vogel, James especially has fully invested himself in making sure Davis feels at home.
“I think LeBron has just done everything in his power to make sure that he’s going out of his way to make sure that Anthony is comfortable with his new team,” Vogel said.
James isn’t the only star, though, so it’s a bit of a balancing act with Davis also wanting his input taken into account. Per Vogel, that hasn’t been a problem, either.
“It’s kind of equal,” Vogel said of the breakdown in leadership responsibilities between the pair of stars. “(Davis and James) are the two captains and I rely on those two guys to be leaders in the locker room, on the basketball court, when we’re making decisions about whether to practice, not to practice, what time do you guys want to come in, all those types of things.
“I reach out to both of them, and I think they’re doing a great job with it.”
So if you’re wondering why Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is playing as many minutes per game as Dwight Howard... just kidding. Kind of. You’ll never know how much I’m kidding here.
And while it’s funny to think that before deciding on practice, Vogel is sending texts to Davis and James, that isn’t all that unusual in the league. These kinds of relationships with stars in the NBA is more the norm than the outlier, but Vogel also elaborated on how various teams operate uniquely in this regard.
“Every team is different. I didn’t have captains in Indiana. I had a leadership council, to steal a Nick Saban phrase, where I had five guys,” Vogel said. “If I ever needed player feedback on anything I would grab all five of them. So I think every team is different. On this team, it’s pretty clear it makes sense to make those two guys the captains and leaders.”
Now, these relationships grow and evolve over the course of the season(s) stars and coaches work together. What the relationship is now is not necessarily what it might look like months from now. Just as Vogel has to trust Davis and James to speak for what is best for their teammates, those guys will have to learn to trust Vogel to do what he sees fit, too.
This is what makes sports so interesting. Yes, you get to watch some of the best athletes in the world perform feats of athleticism and skill that we can only dream of on a nightly basis, but the very human element of learning how to work together is also on display.
Thus far, it seems Vogel has come to a good understanding with his superstars. It could still improve, too. Watching that take place is just an added element of intrigue to what is already one of the more fascinating Lakers teams in years.