As the 2019-2020 NBA preseason rolls on, the Los Angeles Lakers continue to build chemistry and cohesion on the floor before the real games start.
The Lakers concluded their international trip to China where they dropped both games to the Brooklyn Nets. However, the games were overshadowed by the current controversy surrounding the NBA and China after Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey tweeted in support of Hong Kong’s freedom.
For head coach Frank Vogel, he believes the travel to China had more of an impact on the roster than the circumstances did.
“I don’t think the controversy did but the trip may have. Just the travel itself and all that,” Vogel explained prior to the team’s 123-101 win over the Golden State Warriors.
“It’s always a challenge when you have one of these trips in the preseason, but I want to commend our guys to really blocking everything out and focusing on our process of trying to get better. We had a really productive trip. We’ve gotta get through some fatigue and some jet lag now and once we put that behind us we’ll be good to go.”
When asked how he thought the league responded to the ongoing issue, Vogel simply mentioned that he and the Lakers abided by what the NBA advised.
“We just followed their directive. We followed their lead on everything and worried about what we can control, focused on our work and ended up having a productive trip out of it,” Vogel said.
The timing of the controversy could not have been worse for the Lakers and Nets as it occurred right as they were about to depart for China. The ensuing backlash and criticism from China, the Chinese Basketball Association, and others threatened the games and many wondered whether or not they should be held in the first place.
Although Brooklyn and Los Angeles wound up suiting up and playing, there was palpable tension throughout the week as commissioner Adam Silver tried to figure out the best response to the escalating situation. The Lakers seemed to avoid the drama altogether and were thankfully spared having to answer any questions.
Now back in the United States, the Lakers have other things they need to worry about as well as figuring out who will stick in Vogel’s rotation when the 2019-2020 NBA season kicks off on Oct. 22. Hopefully, there are more answers as the preseason comes to a close.