Frank Vogel and the Los Angeles Lakers quickly turned the page on their embarrassing loss against the Ja Morant-less Grizzlies on Thursday, finally getting a win this season against the Thunder on Friday to the tune of a 116-95 win. Anthony Davis had to sit out due to a sore left knee, but that did not matter all too much due to another all-world performance from LeBron James who had 33 points on 65% field-goal shooting while also contributing well on the defensive end with three steals and two blocks. However, the Lakers also received a rare offensive boost from Avery Bradley who scored 22 points behind six made 3-pointers. Out of all players on the floor for the Lakers and Thunder, he was the second-leading scorer.
After the game, head coach Frank Vogel was asked about the offensive outburst from his starter, explaining that anything like that from Bradley on that end is just “a bonus”. He continued on to praise Bradley’s defense of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander while pointing out that “guys like Avery” are going to have these types of nights if they “let the ball find energy and find the open man” (h/t Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen & Roll).
Here is what Frank Vogel had to say about Avery Bradley's game, and his response to some of the criticism of him based on metrics like defensive rating: pic.twitter.com/g2qVqE12ox
— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) December 11, 2021
This isn’t the first time that Frank Vogel had personified the “open man” like it was just any other player with a name, a number, and a spot on their roster. Back during the 2019-20 championship season when there were still talks about the Lakers needing a third star, Vogel had the following to say about who their true third option was before they embarked on that historic playoff run.
Frank Vogel asked about a third option after LeBron and AD: “Our third option is the open man …. it’s almost a benefit to have it not be one guy that the defense can zero in on.”
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) July 15, 2020
Vogel said more about the “open man” on the Lakers, going as far to say that the “open man is more talented than anybody on our team”. Of course, right after he said this he must have seen LeBron or at least remembered his monster performance from the night, correcting himself by saying “except maybe LeBron”.
Although he’s not going as far to say that the team’s third option after LeBron and AD is “the open man”, it is interesting to hear Vogel continue this line of thinking in this year given the fact that Russell Westbrook is now on the team. The fact of the matter is that this is a 3-point shooting league now and, I’m sorry to say this, but I’m not really trusting that “open man” from beyond the arc if it’s Westbrook standing there. Sure, Westbrook has still shown that he can run up the score in games even with LeBron and AD around him on the court, but three is greater than two. Even if Westbrook, LeBron, and AD are cooking, they’ll almost certainly need one of their role players to step up from deep and nail some shots just like Bradley did on Friday, and just as players like Carmelo Anthony and Malik Monk have done a few times this season.