Marc Gasol has started every game for the Los Angeles Lakers this season, and when they've been healthy, that has worked out just fine. The starting unit featuring Gasol, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Dennis Schroder outscored opponents by 13.9 points per 100 possessions before Davis got hurt, but despite that success, it appears as though the Lakers are gearing up for a change.
"I think our group felt sort of an uptick in energy from having a guy like that come to our team," Vogel said. "Everything we thought we were going to get in him he showed in practice today. We're excited to have him out there."
Now that Drummond has officially joined the team, the Lakers have a logjam at center that Frank Vogel will have to solve in time for the postseason. In addition to Drummond and Gasol, reigning Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell has also had a strong season, and Davis will play quite a few minutes at center when the playoffs arrive. Throw in the possibility of Markieff Morris playing center minutes as he did last postseason, and there simply isn't enough playing time to go around.
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It will take experimentation for Vogel to figure out how to balance all of that talent. Gasol and Harrell have not played a single minute together so far this season. With Drummond starting, that is likely to change. The silver lining to Davis being injured is that Vogel will have extra minutes to use in tinkering with different lineup combinations.
The Lakers used four different starting lineups during their championship run last postseason. They will likely change things up depending on matchups in the playoffs. The Lakers already lack spacing on offense, and a non-shooter in Drummond will only exacerbate those issues. With only a month and a half left until the playoffs, Vogel won't have much time to solve problems like those, but he'll have to if the Lakers plan to repeat as champions.