Lakers News: Anthony Davis Talks Perimeter Game, Vogel Discusses Harrell, More

Theo SalaunCorrespondent IJanuary 4, 2021

Lakers News: Anthony Davis Talks Perimeter Game, Vogel Discusses Harrell, More

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    Ashley Landis/Associated Press

    With a win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday, the Los Angeles Lakers moved to 5-2 on the season and settled into a three-game win streak. Without Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso in the victory, Los Angeles continued to test its revamped depth.

    After the Memphis contest, the Lakers keyed in on two areas of focus: the aforementioned bench's upside (particularly with Talen Horton-Tucker and Montrezl Harrell) and the perimeter, playmaking role of Anthony Davis.

    The former has been a running exploratory theme this season, while the latter emerged as a subject of critique following the team's loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. The roles of Davis, Horton-Tucker and Harrell all appear to be evolving as the year progresses.

AD Gets the Green Light from Outside

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    Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press

    After losing to Portland on December 28, Davis promised that he would be more aggressive moving forward. Unlike typical expectations for a guy who is 6'10", it appears that head coach Frank Vogel intends for some of that aggression to play out on the perimeter.

    In two seasons as a Laker, Davis has averaged a career-high 3.5 threes per game. Over his first seven seasons, he averaged just 1.2. Now, as Davis explained to Lakers Daily's Ryan Ward postgame, those averages are meant to balloon in 2020-21: "Coach wants me to shoot at least five, average five a game this year and, you know, I have a lot of good looks and sometimes I pass up on them for a better shot, but I've just gotta shoot 'em."

    While AD took just two triples in Sunday's win, this added emphasis will be intriguing to monitor as the Lakers evolve and he takes an even more prominent role outside. It also likely speaks to confidence in the work Marc Gasol and Harrell have been putting in while rotating at center.

Selfless Harrell Earns Vogel’s Praise

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    Kyusung Gong/Associated Press

    Speaking of Harrell, the former Los Angeles Clipper continues to improve as a bench presence for the Lakers. Despite a couple uninspiring performances, Vogel took time to express just how effective Harrell is becoming for Los Angeles.

    Speaking with Spectrum SportsNet's Mike Trudell, Vogel gave a complimentary answer when asked what he saw from Harrell in Sunday's win: "Energy. You have to honor everything he does on the offensive end. ... He gives great defensive determination and fight as well."

    More importantly, the coach credited what doesn't show up in the box score: Harrell's effort selflessly boxing out on the defensive glass, which Vogel suggests played a major role in LeBron James collecting 13 rebounds.

    After the Blazers loss, both AD and Vogel revealed that they believed Harrell could be a key cog in the team's clutch lineup. Providing energy and selflessness, it appears that his role should only grow moving forward.

Confidence Continues to Grow in THT's Role

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    Darren Abate/Associated Press

    Like Harrell, Horton-Tucker has been drawing praise in an expanded role. Unlike Harrell, Horton-Tucker's role remains dependent on the injury status of his teammates.

    With KCP and Caruso out, THT played a season-high 24 minutes and chipped in a useful, albeit unremarkable seven points, six rebounds and two assists. This is a departure from the high-scoring productivity fans swooned over in the preseason but speaks to the role Vogel anticipates him taking on.

    Asked about Horton-Tucker's ability to step up following injuries to others, Vogel told Trudell that the contributions on both sides of the floor have stuck out to the coaching staff: "We just love what that young man brings to the table in terms of his two-way productivity."

    This coincides with the value KCP and Caruso, or even Danny Green last season, have typically brought to the roster. While LeBron and AD shoulder the scoring load, two-way productivity is essential at the other positions. Whenever other role players miss time, THT should be locked in for a bigger, complementary role.

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