Frank Vogel and Anthony Davis see eye-to-eye on cautious approach to Lakers’ preseason

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel talks with forward Anthony Davis
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel talks with forward Anthony Davis during the first half against the Philadelphia 76ers on March 3 at Staples Center.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The coach and one of his star players are aligned, and it is probably easy to assume that Anthony Davis and his Lakers teammates are of the same accord.

It is reasonable to expect the Lakers to slowly, cautiously and smartly ease into the 2020-21 season.

The Lakers are two weeks away from opening the NBA regular season and defending their crown, 70-some after they beat the Miami Heat to give the franchise its league-record-tying 17th championship.


As for Davis, he wants to make sure his body and mind are ready for another grind.

“I don’t want to rush into anything,” Davis said on a videoconference with reporters Tuesday. “We’ve seen, unfortunately, how football went with no preseason, shorter season, and a lot of injuries happen. You don’t want that same thing. So, I’m gonna build up the right way. Coach has been doing a great job of doing that with our team, building up the right way.”

Coach Frank Vogel said Anthony Davis and LeBron James aren’t likely to play in preseason opener, so Lakers’ regular-season starting five isn’t clear.

Dec. 8, 2020

Indeed, coach Frank Vogel has not pushed the Lakers during the three practices this week.

In fact, Vogel even gave his players Wednesday off before they get back to practice Thursday ahead of their preseason opener Friday against the Clippers.

“It makes me want to do less live work, actually, just out of concern for making sure our players aren’t put in a situation where they can be vulnerable to injury,” Vogel said. “If your body is not used to playing live basketball, like you typically would be building up to a normal training camp, I think you have to take it slower, do more drill work, try to put your system in through drill work as much as possible. And then, introduce the live action at a slower pace to get their bodies used to contact again.”

Vogel described how the first three sessions have transpired.

“The duration of practice hasn’t been nearly as long as it typically would be in training camp,” he said. “And what I tried to do the first three days was have sort of a build-up, where the first practice would be 25% live work, 75% drill work. The second practice, 50-50, and [Tuesday] about 75% live work and about 25% drill work, just trying to build up each of the three days with an off day [Wednesday]. And, like I said, the practices haven’t really gone longer than an hour, 1:15, which is far shorter than they typically would be in training camp.”

Vogel even said that “it’s probably unlikely” that Davis and LeBron James play Friday night.

LeBron James admitted he was hurt by comments from ex-teammate Kyrie Irving, who referred to himself as ‘the best option for every team I played for down the stretch.’

Dec. 8, 2020

Davis said he and Vogel will discuss his status again leading up to the game, but the main thing is for the forward is “to be smart about it as well” as the Lakers prepare for the 72-game campaign.


“We’ve just had three days of camp, like I said, and a short time to recover,” Davis said. “So we’ll discuss more…the day before the game [and] then just kind of see where it goes. But like I said, coach is already on everybody about taking care of your body with a shorter season, especially with no bubble, COVID playing a factor.

“So all these things that can be game changers for teams, he’s doing a good job of making sure that we’re healthy, and it’s something we talk about. But my job is to be on the floor with the team, but also doing it the right way.”