Over the course of an 82-game NBA season, if a team wants to rack up one of the league’s best records, they’ll have to win in any number of ways. Thus far this year, the Los Angeles Lakers have shown they can do just that, and Frank Vogel cited the team’s most recent couple victories as examples.
“What I love about this win is that we can win in a variety of different ways. Last game we scored 140 points and were able to secure that victory in a different style of game. This one was more of a grind-it-out game and our defense held up and we won scoring 96 points. I love our versatility.”
The Lakers’ roster is such that at just about every position, there’s an offensive-driven player and a defense-first one. Hell, this dynamic starts at the very top of the roster, where you have LeBron James, one of the greatest offensive minds in NBA history and Anthony Davis, only one of the most talented defensive players in recent memory.
At point guard, you have someone like Rajon Rondo, someone many consider a future coach for the way he approaches the game on offense, and Alex Caruso, a blooming defensive star.
Avery Bradley is traditionally a shooting guard and has become the spearhead of the Lakers’ defense. His backcourt mate and more traditional shooting guard (in that he can, you know, shoot) is Danny Green.
Even at center when Davis is playing power forward, JaVale McGee has the length and athleticism to finish just about any lob or put-back. Then, when he subs out, in comes Dwight Howard, winner of multiple Defensive Player of The Year awards.
What all this allows is for Vogel to throw mixes of those players together for a balanced attack, or compile more specialized lineups depending on how any given game might be going. So if the Lakers need to score 140 points to win, cool, surround James and Davis with enough shooting or finishers to punish opposing defenses.
If Vogel thinks the game is heading towards one of those mucked up, ugly matchups that will stay under 100 points, fine, the Lakers have lineups that can flourish in those situations.
All this versatility will be key if the Lakers want to keep pace with the Milwaukee Bucks atop the league standing or, at the very least, stay ahead of their Western Conference competition. So far, it’s worked really well, with Vogel deserving a ton of credit for knowing when to pull which strings.