Next week, Frank Vogel will tip-off his first training camp as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. However, while next week will mark the first official practice with Vogel at the helm, it won’t be the first time he’s been in the gym with his new team.
Earlier this week, the Lakers posted a video of nearly half of the team — including Anthony Davis, Kyle Kuzma and JaVale McGee — working out at the UCLA Health Training Center in El Segundo with the coaching staff watching. Anthony Davis and Alex Caruso were also spotted in the gym on Thursday.
During a recent interview with Mike Trudell of Lakers.com, Vogel broke down what he’s seen from his roster during these optional summer workouts, and it sounds like things have gone well so far:
MT: You’ve had a lot of guys in working out at the facility here. Have you found yourself going, ‘Wow, this guy is in great shape,’ or ‘He’s added a tool out I didn’t know about?’
Vogel: I think Rondo has shot the heck out of the basketball from the 3-point line. I think Avery (Bradley), KCP, Dwight (Howard) and Jared Dudley all look lighter and are in great shape. LeBron has had a great summer physically and is in great shape. Danny Green (looks great). Seeing AD up close and personal just gets you excited about what his season is going to look like. Our young guys – Caruso and Quinn Cook – have shown me a lot. I feel good about throwing those guys in at any point. They could be competing for some big roles for our team. JaVale (McGee) is a serious dude that works, that’s in a far different place mentally in his career than he was earlier in his career. Kuzma is a 10 out of 10 attitude and worker, and just a guy that’s going to be an ass kicker for us this year. Daniels, the shooting. And what I love, more than individual speaking, is the shooting that we have. At every position. Aside from our two rolling centers, everybody has the ability to carry a threat from the 3-point line. I think when you have that type of supporting cast around elite offensive players, you’re going to be a good team.
Last season, Rajon Rondo showed signs of life from behind the arc, converting 38.5 percent of his above-the-break 3-point attempts on 2.5 attempts per game. In fact, prior to the All-Star Break, Rondo was shooting 42.3 percent from behind the arc on 2.3 attempts per game, so it makes sense that he’s been hitting them an open gym.
If Rondo hits the 3-ball with some consistency next season, it will be a welcome surprise for the Lakers, but luckily they won’t need to rely on him for 3-point shooting after signing established 3-point marksmen like Danny Green, Quinn Cook, Jared Dudley and Troy Daniels in free agency.
Davis might not be a 3-point sniper, but he does rank sixth among active forward-centers in 3-point makes with 181 made 3-pointers. Cousins ranks fifth with 342.
In a league that likes to play 5-out, Vogel has the tools he needs to run a modern offense, and two superstars to help him run it. As a new coach, that’s about all you could ask for.