Los Angeles Lakers’ starting lineup:
- PG: Dennis Schröder
- SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
- SF: LeBron James
- PF: Anthony Davis
- C: Marc Gasol
Here is Frank Vogel’s typical first half rotation:
- LeBron James plays the first six minutes of the game until Kyle Kuzma substitutes in for him.
- Marc Gasol plays the first eight minutes of the game, and Frank Vogel subs him out for Montrezl Harrell.
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope plays the first ten minutes of the game, and LBJ comes back in for him.
- Dennis Schröder and Anthony Davis play the entire first quarter.
Questions galore arise off of Frank Vogel’s starting lineup and first quarter rotation.
Here are the two most pressing questions:
- Why does LeBron James come back into the game at the 2:00 mark of the first quarter?
- Why does Frank Vogel insist on starting Dennis Schröder?
You all know LeBron James’s story. He’s 36-years-old, and he’s played over 59,000 combined regular and postseason minutes. He’s also coming off an incredibly short offseason in which he didn’t have his usual time to recuperate.
LeBron loves to tell people he’s built differently, and he relishes the times he can flex his arms during contests after he steamrolls an opposing defender on the way to the rim. Yes, he’s unbelievable, and he’s strong, and he’s durable, and a slew of other superlatives. Still, Frank Vogel should proceed with caution.
The Lakers are one significant LBJ injury away from morphing into just another western conference playoff team.
LeBron James sits in ninth place throughout the NBA in total minutes played, and he also leads the Lakers in MPG.
Unfortunately, it’s looked like the Lakers have needed all of those minutes from LeBron to beat the lowly Grizzlies and Spurs, but Frank Vogel must test Kyle Kuzma, Dennis Schröder, Montrezl Harrell, and the rest of the players on the roster. LeBron cannot continue to rack up these types of minutes, no matter how strong he looks.
LeBron James should play the first six minutes of the game and then sit until the halfway mark of the second quarter. Frank Vogel should go with the same strategy during the second half, and if the need arises, LeBron can come in at the 9:00 minute mark of the fourth quarter.
Dennis Schröder is the best point guard on the Lakers. But he shouldn’t start; it makes absolutely no sense.
When Dennis Schröder has shared the court with LeBron James, he hasn’t been able to ease LBJ’s load. James’s usage rate (32%) is almost the same as last season’s.
Schröder is a solid player, but he’s nowhere near the playmaker or offensive maestro that LBJ is, so why would the Lakers run the offense through him when “The King” is on the floor?
The Lakers won a championship with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope starting things off at the 1, and so far this season, the former Piston is playing even better than last year. He’s hitting 53 percent of his shots from deep, and he’s been active on the less glamorous side of the ball.
Simultaneously, Kyle Kuzma ranks 12th in the NBA (minimum 15 MPG) in defensive rating, and he’s hitting 40 percent of his looks from deep.
The Lakers don’t need Schröder’s skill set while LeBron is running things.
Frank Vogel should stick with the formula every NBA fan knows works—surround LeBron with shooters (KCP, Kuzma, and Davis) and let him go to work.