Rob Pelinka said that one of the goals when building this current roster was to create a versatile mix of players in order to give head coach Frank Vogel options. No matter what kind of lineup Vogel wants to play, the Lakers have the types of players he needs.
It seems like Pelinka and the front office have done their job fairly well so far, especially when it comes to the starting lineup, as Vogel is currently undecided on who will be his first five. During Anthony Davis’ opening press conference, Vogel deferred that question until he has a better chance to talk with his assistant coaches and get a better feel for his players.
“I have some ideas but nothing has been decided yet, you know it’s way too early for that” Vogel said. “There are a lot of staff meetings that we’re going to have, we’re going to study a lot of tape and see how guys play together in training camp, and that’ll all play itself out.”
Part of the problem is that the Lakers have a breadth of talent, and there are multiple groups that Vogel can envision using in the starting five. It’s a struggle for the head coach, but one that he’s happy to have.
When asked if the presence of so many good players makes these choices difficult, Vogel said, “I think it’s difficult when you don’t have enough good players. But when you have too many good players, that’s called a good problem.”
The first issue Vogel will have to resolve when it comes to his starting five is whether or not to play Anthony Davis at center. Davis is clearly able to play at center, but prefers not to, and the presence of JaVale McGee and DeMarcus Cousins on the roster means that Davis probably won’t have to. Nevertheless, Davis is the best center the Lakers have on the team, whether he wants to be or not.
Another primary question will be how the Lakers address their point guard position. There were rumors that LeBron James may start at point guard, though Vogel has denied those so far. If he does, that would limit the minutes for other point guards such as Alex Caruso, Quinn Cook, and Rajon Rondo. Cook will probably function more as a shooting guard on this Lakers team, and Caruso can move positions as well, but Rondo will be marginalized by James soaking up minutes at the one.
Whatever Vogel ends up deciding, he’s right that there are several lineup theories that make sense for this particular collection of players. So long as one of Davis and James is on the court at all times, he can take his time figuring out the rest of the combinations as the season goes on.
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