On Saturday, the Los Angeles Lakers will practice for the first time since Nov. 29 — almost an entire month ago.
A big reason for that is the fact that they’ve been on the road for eight of their last nine games, but they could have snuck a practice in during that if they wanted to. So why didn’t they?
After the Lakers’ 111-104 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday, head coach Frank Vogel told reporters that this is the least a team of his has ever practiced, but with the way they’ve looked to start the season, he thinks it’s justifiable (via Spectrum SportsNet):
“Very accurate. By a long shot ... It brings with it a certain level of discomfort from my end of always wanting to cross all your T’s and dot all your I’s, but these guys have earned it and rewarded me with the carryover from our team meetings and the one-on-one meetings that we have with these guys. They’ve picked things up, and they’ve learned and improved and grown away from the basketball court regularly throughout this year. It’s something that when you have a veteran group with the intelligence that this group has, it really is a great luxury, because when you have an experienced team like us, you don’t want to be leaving their legs on the practice court, so you’ve got to make sure that you can improve away from the court, and these guys have done that thus far.”
The Lakers have a number of high-quality, experienced veterans on their roster and it’s allowed them to get off to a strong start to the season despite the fact that they have just six returning players and a brand new head coach. However, they would benefit from having a practice to add new elements to their offense and re-sharpen some of the habits they’ve built on defense.
As far as the Lakers’ talent has gotten them so far, they have room to get better, and their game against Milwaukee was a good indicator of that. Hopefully Saturday’s practice is fruitful.