The Lakers finished their second day of practice this preseason on Thursday, one that head coach Frank Vogel described as one with high intensity. After a day of implementing their system and teaching on Wednesday, the Lakers had much more 5-on-5 action on Thursday, which led to a spirited day.
“These guys really, really got after it today and it’s so early in training camp, to see guys playing that hard and that physical is a great sign with the talent that we have,” Vogel said. “I mean, it was really just the competitive nature of every possession. Just, you know, talking about the refs, and talking about ‘man, we got to make that pass’ and the disappointment when they didn’t score and the disappointment when they didn’t get a stop. The care factor to win every possession was super high just about the whole practice.”
Here’s a look at the other big takeaways from the day.
Trevor Ariza misses practice
After being a full participant in practice on Wednesday, Trevor Ariza missed Thursday’s practice with what was described as right ankle soreness by Vogel.
However, Vogel noted that the Lakers are not worried about the injury and expect Ariza to be fine moving forward. Everyone else on the roster was a full participant in practice in each of the first two days.
DeAndre Jordan starting?
In a potential peak at a starting lineup, DeAndre Jordan revealed to Spectrum SportsNet that he spent time at the five alongside Davis on Thursday. Kendrick Nunn also spent time at the shooting guard position to fill out the starting lineup alongside LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis.
DeAndre Jordan told @SpectrumSN that he spent some time playing center with Anthony Davis at the 4 in the Lakers’ second day of training camp.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) September 30, 2021
While Davis seemed adamant at media day that he would be the starting center more often than not, Vogel downplayed the idea. Still, the Lakers head coach spoke about how he will decide who starts on the wing alongside the Lakers Big Three, whether at shooting guard or both the two-guard and small forward.
“That’s gonna be a tough call,” Vogel said. “We’ve got a lot of great choices there. I’m not necessarily going to pin it on whoever the best defender is or whoever the best floor spacer is. It’s whoever’s going to complement that group the best and, obviously, we want as many two-way players on the floor as we can and I would say wherever we getting the most out of both the shooting and the perimeter defense, I think those minutes will go to guys like that.”
New additions impressing
Both James and Rajon Rondo spoke about new additions this offseason that have stood out to them through the first two days of practice.
“I will say Nunn, Baze and (Jordan),” James said. “They’ve picked up some things. Obviously Rondo and Dwight, they kind of already know our system so it goes without saying. But I think Baze, Nunn and DJ has been playing really good ball for us. Just learning our system pretty fast. That’s great to have.”
Rondo echoed James’ calls while also mentioning Westbrook, the biggest new addition of the summer, and the team’s lone rookie on the main roster.
“You can’t say one guy,” Rondo said. “I mean, Russ’s pace, his intensity, his competitiveness. You got DJ’s rim protection. Guys look like they have an open shot and DJ’s coming out of nowhere. I don’t think Melo’s missus since he has been a Laker. Everything is gelling and it’s only day two so I’m excited to continue to see see guys grow, even down to the rookies. Austin Reaves is very impressive. So this has been a great two days so far and we’re going to continue to build and grow each day.”
Hoarse LeBron James
When speaking to the media to start the availability, James’ voice was noticeably hoarse on the day. The superstar forward mentioned that it was the result of two days of yelling and directing his teammates as the Lakers’ new-look roster looks to learn the system that led James, Davis and Vogel to a title less than a year ago.
“Well, he sets a great tone for attentiveness,” Vogel said of James. “Hanging on every word the coaches are saying, and making sure he’s understanding and executing it at the right level and I think that sets the tone for the rest of the guys, absorbing what we’re trying to get through to them. It starts there but then, obviously, his overall basketball mind and the experience in our system the last two years. Every time, just like the assistant coaches, every time we implement something if there’s a detail that needs to be cleaned up, he’s very vocal in those situations, too.”
Rondo, who has been around James for two seasons prior to this year, has gotten plenty of up close and person looks at James through his years in purple and gold and shared a similar sentiment to Vogel.
“I mean it’s what greatness is all about. That’s why certain teams, well every team he’s played on has been to the top of the top and when a guy like that is setting the tone, everyone else has to follow under the bar and lock in and try to do the same.”
Notes and updates
- Rondo was back to his old tricks with the media on Tuesday, first when discussing if it was a special moment taking a photo alongside James, Davis, Westbrook, Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony.
Rajon Rondo on if anything about the picture with LeBron, AD, Carmelo, Dwight and Russ picture from media stood out to him— Jacob Rude (@JacobRude) September 30, 2021
"Not really other than I was the shortest."
Then, Rondo was asked about his role this season and if he had any notion of how many minutes he’d play this season.
Rondo of if he knows how many minutes he'll play this season— Jacob Rude (@JacobRude) September 30, 2021
"Coach told me anywhere from 0 to 48."
Rondo, who was joking in both answers, went on to talk about his role this season in a little more detail.
“Regardless of how many minutes I do play or I don’t play,” Rondo said, “I’m grateful to be here and I know I can bring so much more if I’m not playing so regardless of role, I know I’ll have a big impact if I play or not.”
- After both Vogel and Davis talked about wanting to be a top team once again in the fastbreak this season, James mentioned the same goal as well.
Wrote today about how Frank Vogel and Anthony Davis wanted the Lakers to get back to being one of the best defensive and fastbreaking teams.— Jacob Rude (@JacobRude) October 1, 2021
LeBron mentioned wanting to be the No. 1 fastbreaking team in the league when talking to the media today. https://t.co/tSmgMpjrtn pic.twitter.com/vbHQYWhQmk
- The Lakers will practice again on Friday before again speaking to the media on Friday afternoon.