The Lakers Lair podcast, hosted by Basketball Society’s own Randy King and BJ Boyer, were joined by former writer for USA Today, host of Dunks and Discourse, and writer for Hoop Magazine, Jabari Ali Davis. In the episode (linked below) Davis was asked a series of questions and had several thoughts to share on the purple and gold.
Several things have happened to the Los Angeles Lakers roster throughout the NBA hiatus. Lakers starter Avery Bradley decided to opt of traveling to Orlando leaving a hole in the Lakers backcourt. That hole and roster spot was eventually filled by the signing of veteran guard JR Smith.
However, while the loss of Bradley is extremely significant to the Lakers, another domino fell for the Lakers when Rajon Rondo fractured his thumb in a Lakers practice on July 12th, an injury that would leave him sidelined for 6-8 weeks. Here is what Davis had to say on the loss.
“I think the loss is a bit more significant than most people think,” said Davis. “It narrows the margin of error, you’re already losing (Avery) Bradley and if you were losing one you can absorb that and fill by committee, but losing both, it makes things that much more difficult.”
Now, there lies a current player on the roster who has not gotten much run on the Lakers this season who may have an increased role. That player being Quinn Cook. While the assumption is that Alex Caruso will take a bulk of the minutes left by Rondo given his chemistry with LeBron James, one could wonder in what capacity could we see Cook.
“I think he will have a role, I don’t see him as the PLAY-MAKER that you expect out of Rondo,” said Davis. “He is a shot-maker and if he can go in off the bench at two or three minutes at a time knock down a couple shots and find the open man, that’s all you really need out of him.”
The main person in charge of making the decisions like the role of Cook, is none other than Lakers head coach Frank Vogel. Vogel has had to go through several difficulties since being named the head coach. Some notable hurdles include overcoming the death of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and then getting his team in the right mind-set to recover and heal without any major drop-off.
Another challenge which is what 22 other NBA coaches are going though currently is getting his team to get back into playing shape and try and overcome the long gap in-between playing games. The mentality of this team has been tested and Vogel has done a tremendous job at rallying the troops. See what Davis grades his season thus far and if he agrees that Vogel has done a tremendous job.
“It’s an ‘A’ there is no other way to say it,” said Davis. “A lot of us didn’t know what to expect given how the coaching search went and given the fact that, let’s be real, he was their third or fourth option. Also, not to mention that he didn’t have total say over his assistants and he has made it work.”
The last talking point that was discussed in the podcast came when hosts King and Boyer asked the question that several Lakers fans want to know, ‘Who will be the Lakers final scoring option?’. Will it be Caruso, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, or will it be the man many project to be since the pre-season, Kyle Kuzma?
“The truth of the matter is (Kyle) Kuzma has to be a consistent threat,” said Davis. “He doesn’t have to give you 20 or 30 a night, but he has to be that threat in terms of spacing the floor, getting out on the break, or working off two-man action in the half-court set he has to be aggressive.”
Hear the full discussion: