After an exciting game against the Golden State Warriors in the Play-In Tournament, it’s time for the Lakers to focus on the playoffs. They will face the Phoenix Suns in the first round, with Phoenix having a home-court advantage.
Here are 2 things the Lakers need to figure out in order to be successful in the playoffs.
Who Are They Going to Play at Center?
One of the keys to the Lakers’ victory over the Warriors was Anthony Davis playing the fourth quarter at the center position. This is curious, as the Lakers have one of the deepest center rotations in the league with Andre Drummond, Montrezl Harrell, and Marc Gasol. Gasol didn’t play against Golden State, but his impact in the regular season was noticeable, and he has earned minutes in the playoffs.
Montrezl Harrell was really productive all season long, but since Andre Drummond arrived his role hasn’t been as big. Speaking of Drummond, one worrying statistic from Wednesday night was that Anthony Davis could not hit a field goal when sharing the floor with Drummond.
Frank Vogel will have a tough task trying to figure out how will his center rotation look like, although it can change every series if the Lakers advance.
Who Will Play Late in Close Game Situations?
We saw on Wednesday what the playoff rotation could look like. The Lakers have a lot of depth, but the playoffs aren’t about depth as the rotations being shorter.
So, who will Frank Vogel trust?
Dennis Schröder had an ugly game against the Warriors, and Vogel benched him on the last minutes in favor of Wesley Matthews. This is probably an early warning sign for Schröder that he needs to be smarter next time the Lakers are in the same situation.
Alex Caruso also had a very important role, playing instead of a traditional Center. Caruso was crucial, defending Curry in big possessions. Vogel has a lot of options, playing Caruso, playing with a traditional center. He will need to figure out who he trusts in the big spots.
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