The Lakers are a team that’s big on film, which is fitting considering what city they’re based in. That was the case when Luke Walton was the team’s head coach from 2016 to 2019 and it’s held true under Frank Vogel. However, film sessions under Vogel have been different than Walton’s.
That may seem like a given because of their differences in style and experience, but there’s been one fundamental difference with Vogel that has nothing to do with style or experience: communication. Specifically, how empowered players have felt to be vocal participants in film sessions under Vogel.
That’s not a knock on Walton; it’s more of a testament to how different things can be for a team when they’re playing at a high level, and Kyle Kuzma explained those differences after the Lakers’ practice on Wednesday.
“I think that in my first two years in the league, we were kind of young teams, and film rooms were much different — much, much different,” Kuzma said. “For young young teams, it’s always the coaches that talk, it’s always the coaches that tell you what’s wrong, or what you need to be doing better. And then, really, last year around the bubble, you kind of really pick up that intensity as a team. With the coaches as well, but more so the players on the court, and really kind of take over the film room, and you kind of own that as a team.
“I think that it helps so much. Just for the camaraderie, but also just the chemistry of the team, because when you think about it, on a young team, it’s the coach that is always talking, coming in every morning, and you may not pay attention to the film as much. You may have questions but you don’t want to ask out and look dumb.
“Fast-forward to the opportunity that I’ve seen a young player where everybody has something to say, everybody has something to do better, and it really allows you to realize that everyone makes mistakes and everybody can, you know, hold themselves accountable for those mistakes.”
But the Lakers’ new way of watching film hasn’t just helped Kuzma’s development. Kuzma thinks that their film sessions were the key to them winning a championship last season, and a big reason why they’ve been able to come together so quickly this season.
“I think that having players talk in the film room is essential to winnings championships and essential just for growth on the court because at the end day, coaches do and should have their own words in the film room, but at the end of the day, they’re not on the court — it’s the players on the court, and that starts in the film room,” Kuzma said.