Los Angeles Lakers: Why it’s time for LA to go small

Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /

It is time for the Los Angeles Lakers to go small.

The Los Angeles Lakers have dispatched the Portland Trail Blazers in five games and go into the Western Conference Semi-Finals with momentum and a perfect bill of health.

Head coach Frank Vogel did an excellent job conserving LeBron James and Anthony Davis‘ minutes, with both averaging right around 32 minutes per game. Doing that not only keeps the two superstars fresh but should allow Vogel to now increase the minutes and ramp up the time both are on the floor together.

Going into the first round, it required Vogel to start McGee and play Dwight heavy minutes but as the rounds go forward its time to embrace going small.

All season the Lakers’ best lineup has involved some combination of AD, LeBron, Kyle Kuzma and two guards, usually Alex Caruso or one of Danny Green and KCP. Although this has been the best lineup, Vogel has appeased AD, who has stated that he does not like playing the five.

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During the regular season and first-round as the first seed, the Lakers can get away with making AD happy but now with a matchup approaching with the ultimate small-ball team in the Houston Rockets its time to commit.

If Vogel wants to move past the second round going small is the way to go, and this is not talking about just putting AD at the 5. LeBron gets maximized when he has the spacing needed to attack the rim and put the pressure on the defense.

Fortunately, the Lakers have a ton of different “small-ball” lineups they can go to, in Markieff Morris at the five with LeBron at the four or AD at the five and LeBron at the four. Each of these lineups gives ample space for LeBron to post up or run high PNR and attack the rim which the Rockets are lack with Robert Covington or PJ Tucker.

If Vogel insists on having a center on the court he must only play Dwight and JaVale with LeBron at the four to keep the spacing on the floor. So far this season, the LeBron and AD PNR has not been seen enough but this is the series to break the emergency glass.

Scouting Rockets vs. Thunder for Round 2. dark. Next

We will see if Vogel starts the series with small ball or will he have to see the results of not adjusting beforehand? A lot of storylines will be present during a tough potential second-round series with Houston.