LeBron James knows that the Lakers’ on-and-off play is under the microscope of Laker Nation, leading up to the team’s attempt to break .500 (12-12) Tuesday night against the Boston Celtics (13-11).
However, the 36-year-old star acknowledged that one thing the team should cling to is the current team rotation as fans call for coach Frank Vogel‘s job due to their uneven start and lagging offense.
“I love what Rob and coach and the front office did to assemble this team, and we look forward to the journey ahead of us,” James stated, reflecting on his return to the hardwood Friday night against the LA Clippers after a run-in with COVID.
“And I don’t think we even need to do that. I love every guy that’s in this locker room and I believe in what we’re capable of doing,” James reinforced. “When we get enough game reps and enough logged minutes – we’ve had guys in and out, especially me. I can’t even say how I feel at this point because I’ve been in the lineup half the games.
“Coach [Vogel] and the coaching staff do a great job of putting lineups on the floor that he feels are best for us at that moment. But we have guys shooting, we have guys that can play in the paint, we have guys that are very quick, we have guys that can rebound the ball, we got dagger guys that can just flat out shoot the ball and we have a lot of scoring as well.”
The Howard experiment at the 5 got off to a lukewarm start following Friday’s six-point, minus-11 performance — following an impressive appearance against the Kings last Tuesday.
Vogel’s play at center has been to start Howard, over the previous starter DeAndre Jordan, and then insert James for Dwight once the team went with a small-ball lineup.
The recipe appeared to work for most of Friday’s contest, until the Lakers failed to build momentum in the 3-point game and fizzled out, 119-115.
“So obviously with Frank, the most important thing for him is defense to start off and setting the tone to start off the game. But you also have to be able to score too and he wants us to do that as well.”
Horton-Tucker’s stock has fallen in the new season, and the projected loss of Kendrick Nunn may be a thorn in the small-ball lineup’s side. But with Carmelo Anthony contributing on the offensive side at the 4, when James is in at center, and Westbrook expected to add more than six points a night, the Lakers’ play is likely to see a boost in production once all key elements are healthy (notably James) and ready to ball out.
LeBron James had some interesting comments after Monday’s practice about both Frank Vogel and the Lakers roster. @sabreenajm and @AnthonyIrwinLA discussed a not very supportive James https://t.co/hSx2GSviKr
— Silver Screen and Roll (@LakersSBN) December 7, 2021