After disappointing season, Lakers reveal fault lines in on-court chemistry – Press Telegram

THE SECOND – When did the Lakers know their season was heading for the rocks? It depends on who you ask.

Anthony Davis and Stanley Johnson said they continued to believe until the end, until they were eliminated on April 5 in Phoenix. When asked about it, Johnson replied, “Would you think you had LeBron, Russ, and AD in the locker room with you?”

But some other veterans felt the change early on. Looking back, Wayne Ellington felt a lot of wind on his back was dying after the December and January fights with injuries and the COVID-19: “We just slowed down pretty fast. We just never were able to take a step.”

Although the final answers were elusive for the Lakers, who were thoughtful after a 33-49 season that disappointed everyone involved, dividing lines between the paper players emerged after the campaign, more easily among the fresh faces that were seen. doomed to the rotation of games and the veterans who were taken out of it.

Differences in perspective help to lighten the tensions between coaches and veterans, between youth and experience, between short-term and long-term vision that helped fracture a season that was already crumbling by mid-year. The Lakers had a lot of colorful metaphors about a sour campaign: Kent Bazemore said instead of being all on the same boat: “Some guys had speedboats, others had pontoons, we’re all everywhere.”

But Dwight Howard found something when he described the Lakers’ challenges as trying to break through a wall. and things we had, it looked like we couldn’t get over that wall. “

General manager Rob Pelinka left a lot of room for interpretation in describing the failures of the players he assembled last summer, simply stating: “I don’t think our squad worked.” But several veterans seemed to believe that the Lakers, as they were built last summer, could have worked if given enough track.

During the season, Bazemore was a main line of positivity, celebrating from the bench and trying to pick up team spirit in groups. At one point, coach Frank Vogel said Bazemore had been “a 10 out of 10 with his attitude and character and really demonstrated in light of a difficult circumstance where youngsters could step aside or have a dark mindset.”

But in his outing interview, Bazemore was more than happy to talk about his dissatisfaction with being on the bench, as well as other coaching decisions he disagreed with. He thought the Lakers ’lineups in key situations lacked an overall IQ, which meant that if the veterans played, they could win several of the tied games they lost. He also criticized the quick decisions to get players out of lineups (Bazemore started the first 13 games of the season but only started once during the rest of the year).

“Depth doesn’t necessarily mean, ‘Oh, he missed 10 of his last 12 shots, we took him out and put him in this guy and we started tonight,'” Bazemore said. “That’s not what depth is. The guys pick up pace all season, it’s a long year. They’re ebb and flow.”

Another veteran who didn’t see much of the word, Wayne Ellington, touched on similar topics. Although he didn’t specifically mention Vogel’s 41 different starting lineups, he said the constant change in rotation helped kill the team’s brand chemistry on the track in the middle of the season.

“I think you just felt it,” he said. “Once COVID played, once different guys joined, playing in front of guys who had been here, the mix of throwing guys there to see what was left, I think that’s when I felt the connection of the low group.”

The coach’s counterpoint was that the veterans the Lakers originally signed weren’t playing. Bazemore fought for space at the expected level (32.4%) and never caught the defense of the point of attack in the Vogel system. Ellington was a reasonably consistent 3-point shooter during the year (38.9%), but offered little more. As Vogel said in his last pre-match press conference of the year, “No one has won (an initial role) on a regular basis.” A dozen Lakers have recorded at least 11 outings this season.

Vogel hinted through late newcomers like Avery Bradley, Stanley Johnson and Wenyen Gabriel that the list put together over the summer had huge flaws. Players like Bazemore and Trevor Ariza, who were previously assumed to have played important roles, in the eyes of the coaches, were not up to the task. Players like Johnson seemed to take advantage of their ability to attack in the middle.

Perhaps Johnson, who has been struggling uphill all season to stay in the NBA, has not been cynical enough to stop believing until the end. Even after the end, Johnson said, he would like to see what the Lakers, who haven’t won consecutive games in three months, could have done in a seven-game series.

“Obviously it’s crazy for me to believe that now, but all the way until I knew we couldn’t make it to the playoffs,” he said. “Obviously you have to believe in that moment. But I think if we got in and had a chance, we would play well.

Johnson added, “We? No. We deserved to come in? No, we just didn’t play well.”

The frantic way Vogel has gone through different lineups and groups, beyond injuries, may also have been linked to the pressure he felt to perform from the start of the season. In mid-January, reports surfaced that Vogel could be fired in the middle of the season. In the championship season, Vogel used only 12 different starting lineups throughout the year. But in addition to a series of games that lacked bodies, he simply seemed to look for solutions game by game.

Ellington thought the pressure to win every night was starting to hit the team.

“I think it leaked naturally,” he said. “There’s so much coverage of our team this year – the good, the bad and the ugly – I think it definitely played its part in not allowing us to be what we were capable of being. That pressure night after night on what’s going on tonight instead of keeping that big-mindedness closed to us. “

In the middle of these lines was DJ Augustin, a veteran but also late, former teammate of Russell Westbrook but also a former player of Frank Vogel. In the wake of the split between the two personalities in the exit interviews, Augustin interpreted Switzerland: he called Vogel’s dismissal “a great loss to our organization and the young people who knew him,” but also said: “Russ is my type “.

After disappointing season, Lakers reveal fault lines in on-court chemistry – Press Telegram Source link After disappointing season, Lakers reveal fault lines in on-court chemistry – Press Telegram

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