The Los Angeles Lakers have made major changes to their frontcourt this offseason. They are returning All-NBA big man Anthony Davis and Markieff Morris but have replaced the center duo of JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard with Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol.
On paper, it looks as though the Lakers’ frontcourt depth will be even better. Harrell is the reigning Sixth Man of the Year while Gasol is one of the more accomplished big men in the league. The Lakers will once again be starting a center alongside Davis to allow him some rest against bigger bodies throughout the regular season. But who that starter will be is yet to be determined, according to head coach Frank Vogel:
Frank Vogel was asked about his plans for the center rotation, and I thought his answer was indicative of his coaching philosophies, and it was also interesting to hear what frontcourt pairing he credited as being the one that won them the title last season: pic.twitter.com/pHvmQt8F0V
— NBA INSIDER HARRISON FAIGEN (@hmfaigen) December 5, 2020
On paper, Gasol seems like the obvious fit to start alongside Davis, allowing the latter to operate down low on offense while taking the bigger defensive assignment. Still, Vogel has always shown flexibility with his lineups. He’s not afraid to zig when others expect him to zag.
What is clear is that the Lakers will have various combinations they can play in the frontcourt depending on what they need. Gasol provides smart defense, stellar passing, and deep shooting. Harrell has an edge, intensity, and energy and is an elite rim-runner. Morris gives you toughness, defensive versatility, and elite shooting. And we all know what Davis can do.
Vogel has a good problem on his hands and, as he said, it’s up to him to figure out what roles get the best out of his players.