Anthony Davis might have forgotten where he was for a moment as he described his ideal position. He’d rather play power forward than center — he’s made that much clear.
Then he turned to his left, and a toothy, sheepish smile formed as he extended a long arm to his new coach, Frank Vogel.
“If it comes down to it coach, and you need to play the five,” he said, “then I’ll play the five.”
The talent is assembled, and the Lakers are expecting big things from a veteran-laden roster led by Davis and LeBron James. On Saturday during Davis’ introduction, the word “championship” was tossed about liberally — the high standards are no secret for the coming season.
The man in charge of putting all the pieces together, the 46-year-old head coach hired during a chaotic month of May, now faces the season well-stocked with proven players. And the roster the Lakers have put together reflect the style Vogel expects to play come October, which he outlined in a session with media on Saturday following Davis’ introduction.
In a way, Vogel, whose own introductory press conference was overshadowed by Magic Johnson-related turmoil, is still waiting to show the NBA how he’s evolved.
“It’s not so much how I believe it should be played; It’s just the way I coach,” he said. “For instance, my Pacers teams [wanted to] pound it in the post. Because that was the personality we had. We wanted to play through big (Roy) Hibbert and David West, and we didn’t have the kind of 3-point shooting that teams are playing with nowadays. You see the benefits; you see how it shifts, and like anything, you measure whether that makes sense for your club or your style of play.”
This Lakers team won’t resemble much of his Pacers teams of the past, Vogel suggested.
With a 304-291 career record, Vogel’s calling card in both Indiana and Orlando has been as a defensive-minded coach who played with less tempo on the offensive end. The New Jersey native says the past few seasons have changed his approach to offense, and he’s more eager to create spacing for shooters. The Lakers’ heavy investment into guards — the team has seven on its 14-man roster, many of whom have overlapping skillsets — reflected how Vogel will likely want to play, surrounding James and Davis with shooters sprawled along the perimeter.