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Frank Vogel explains why he hasn’t played Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol together

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It doesn’t look like we’ll be getting the Montrezl Harrell-Marc Gasol lineup after all.

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Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

Since Andre Drummond signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in March, he and Marc Gasol have been at the, uh, middle of the conversation about the team’s center rotation. However, they’re not the only two centers Frank Vogel has had to manage. Reigning Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell has also warranted a meaningful role in the rotation with his production this season.

The problem is, there’s only 48 minutes at center that can be distributed between Harrell, Gasol and Drummond, so not all of them can play an excess of 20 minutes per game. One possible solution to that problem would be to play one of them at the 4, and Frank Vogel has actually flirted with that idea in the last month. Specifically, he’s mentioned the possibility of Gasol and Harrell playing alongside each other.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t gotten past the flirting phase and Vogel explained why after practice on Wednesday.

“It’s tough to play two bigs in the modern NBA; two centers,” Vogel said. “So there are some things that we like about it. We have talked at length about it, in particular when we first got Drummond. It’s not something that we’ve gone to.

“I think you’d have to do it against certain matchups only. If the other team is playing four guards and a big or five smalls, it’s just really tough to defend at a high level with that type of look, or create the right separation offensively ... So there are some things you can do with that.

“Obviously I played with two bigs a lot back in Indiana, (but) the game is different. We can look at that, it’s just not something that we’ve put into play yet. But it is something that we’ve talked about.”

Vogel has developed a reputation for saving his best lineups for the postseason, but he at leasts tests those lineups in the regular season, Gasol and Harrell have played zero minutes together this season and it’s unlikely that their first minutes together will come in the playoffs.

That means Drummond, Gasol and Harrell will all have to scrap for minutes at center going forward and those minutes will only be harder to come by when Anthony Davis starts getting reps at center in the playoffs. JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard handled that situation gracefully last season; we’ll see if this trio can do the same this season.

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