The Los Angeles Lakers may have become older in the offseason — much, much older — but that doesn’t mean that they won’t seem youthful with how they play basketball this season. In fact, they’re most likely set to return to their efficient transition ways of the championship season as opposed to last season. Frank Vogel sees this, saying the following after the team’s first-ever official practice together.
“We want to be the best fast-breaking team in the NBA. We have dynamic players, and then adding a guy like Russ and the speed that he brings to the table, we want to support him and get everybody running. That’s when we’re going to be at our best, that’s when we were at our best two years ago when we led the league in fast-break points, and I think those two things, along with some different early offense looks that we put in — that are a little bit different than who we were last year — to open things up.”
As I said previously, the Lakers were much better in transition during the 2019-20 season compared to the 2020-21 season. This is more than likely a reflection of the 2-3 months that LeBron James and Anthony Davis missed together. But still, players like Dennis Schroder — although fast when he wanted to be — seemed to have slowed down the ball to try and create 1-on-1 angles that he could take advantage of. This is something that Silver Screen & Roll’s Alex Regla analyzed at the end of the past season.
Last season the Lakers had the 2nd best transition efficiency in the league. This year, they were 22nd.
— Alex Regla (@AlexmRegla) July 22, 2021
Of course, if the Lakers become one of the best fast-breaking teams in the NBA, it will be because of the addition of Russell Westbrook (these full lineups could also help the team in this department). Frank Vogel also said the following after practice:
“It’s noticeable how different the speed looks a) in front of you in practice live and b) on your side (laughs). It’s really exciting… He’s just a blur out there with his open court speed, and even halfcourt downhill speed. It’s something that we’re really excited about.”
Get ready for the runnin’ Lakers, ladies and gentlemen.