Say what you will about the offseason that Rob Pelinka and the rest of the Los Angeles Lakers front office had, they undoubtedly addressed a key issue of last year’s opening night roster. That issue was the team’s elevated age that sadly presented itself more in the form of slow and lethargic play than it did in savvy, veteran leadership.
During Monday’s media day, the team’s youth was pointed out to Anthony Davis in regard to the frontcourt specifically. The entire roster from top to bottom is younger, but that change is most notable in the frontcourt as Thomas Bryant (25 years old) and Damian Jones (27) will effectively be replacing DeAndre Jordan (34) and Dwight Howard (36) from last year’s team.
Davis wasn’t asked about youth specifically despite it being brought up in the question, but instead, he was asked how he envisioned himself, Bryant, Jones, and Juan Toscano-Anderson fitting together at the four and five positions.
“They play extremely hard. And that’s all we can ask of them, doing the dirty work. But we’ll see how it fits in training camp. We had a little thing in San Diego, we didn’t really do too much. But I think coming into camp, we’ll test a lot of lineups, a lot of situations where guys are alongside other players and we’ll see what happens.”
However, Davis couldn’t help himself but laugh and think about the differences in age between this year’s and last year’s roster. You can see that little chuckle below as well as a hilarious visual aid for the (obvious) differences we’ll see between the 2021-22 and 2022-23 Lakers squads.
AD’s visual aid for the comparison between last year’s older roster vs. this year’s younger roster is killing me pic.twitter.com/ya3O7lKBKe— Donny McHenry (@donny_mchenry) September 27, 2022
After doing funny things with his hands, he talked about how this will help himself and the other old fellas on the squad.
“These guys are going to be running, and it’s going to push me, LeBron, Russ, Pat, to play at their speed, at their level. And I think it’s going to help us at the end of the day.”
It’s hilarious, but also refreshing to see that it wasn’t only fans who noticed how old and slow last year’s team was. AD is right there with us and may even realize the extent of how sad it was to watch if his reserved laugh was any evidence of such.
Previous head coach Frank Vogel wanted last year’s team to get out on fast breaks to maximize the playmakers they had in LeBron and Russ. However, Vogel and the Lakers were probably doomed to fail in that regard (as well as a handful of others) given how old everyone was.
Darvin Ham has stated a similar goal of getting out in transition as quickly and efficiently as possible. As he is equipped with a much more youthful roster this year than what Vogel had last year, Ham may be able to have the team looking like exhibit two of AD’s hand motions as opposed to exhibit one.