Lakers’ Chemistry Powers the Defense!
How team chemistry has been the catalyst unleashing the Lakers’ top ranked defense and powering their emergence as the NBA’s best team
The transformation of the Los Angeles Lakers in less than six months from a dysfunctional team going nowhere to a championship contender with the league’s best record and defense has been a direct result of great chemistry.
The architects of the Lakers’ miraculous chemistry are maligned holdover general manger Rob Pelinka, second choice head coach Frank Vogel, and underappreciated superstar tandem of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. When Kawhi Leonard spurned the Lakers and tampered his way to the Clippers with Paul George, everybody in the league predicted it would be the Clippers and not the Lakers who would be the favorites to win it all.
Yet savvy roster building by Rob Pelinka and the front office along with simple good fortune in Tyronn Lue demanding a five-year contract opened the door for the Lakers to hire veteran defensive head coach Frank Vogel. The result was a front office, coaching staff, and veteran roster on the same page, committed to creating an identity as an elite physical defensive team, and prepared to selflessly dedicate themselves to building great chemistry.
How quickly and completely the Los Angeles Lakers were able to come together and coalesce as a contending team is a tribute to the inspirational leadership of Rob Pelinka, Frank Vogel, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis. While it’s early and the sample size small, the chemistry the Lakers have exhibited in putting together the best record and defense in the league is not a fluke but an accomplishment that could be tangible and sustainable.
It started with Pelinka involving Vogel, James, and Davis in every single personnel decision, making sure the Lakers’ head coach and two superstars approved each free agent player the team pursued and signed last summer. It culminated with the controversial decision to bring back Dwight Howard on a non-guaranteed contract when DeMarcus Cousins tore his Achilles, a bold move that surprisingly has brought this team even closer together.
Chemistry is a mysterious and often transient attribute in sports that’s hard to create, impossible to bottle, and way too easy to lose, especially during the long and arduous seasons professional athletes must endure today. Building great chemistry is as much an art as science and the job Pelinka, Vogel, James, and Davis have done in a such short time is unbelievable and almost unheard of considering today’s environment of millionaire players.
Kobe Bryant was on hand with his daughter Gigi last night at Staples to see the Lakers in person and ended up sharing a moment with LeBron and AD but also burying the hatchet and heartily congratulating Dwight Howard. That unimaginable image of a smiling Mamba patting his former nemesis on the back said everything you needed to know about the extraordinary team chemistry the Lakers have been able to forge to start this season.
Something special is happening with the Los Angeles Lakers, a unique chemistry that has unleashed the power of an elite defense and catapulted this team into another era and dynasty of championship NBA basketball.
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