Frank Vogel: ‘No Drop-Off’ Between JaVale McGee, Dwight Howard For Lakers

After losing DeMarcus Cousins to a potential season-ending injury, the Los Angeles quickly pivoted to sign Dwight Howard as a back-up option to JaVale McGee.

Howard had to jump through a number of hoops to get signed to a non-guaranteed deal but at the end of the day, he looks ready to compete at the highest level again.

Through the early stages of the 2019 NBA preseason, the McGee-Howard tandem appears to be working exactly to Vogel’s liking. Regardless of who the starter is, the two work in and out of games seamlessly, providing similar vital additions to the team’s offense and defense and Vogel is excited about what that means moving forward.

“Those guys are a huge part of what we hope to accomplish this year. They’re pivotal in our rim protection, our rebounding, and our physicality,” Vogel said following the team’s 123-101 win over the Golden State Warriors.

“Both of them are giving us something offensively with smart play and the lob threat, playing out of the post, or in the high post with the DHO game. And like you said, there’s no drop-off. It’s like a tag team by committee at the center position and we’re getting really strong play from those guys.”

The two big men got high praise from Vogel and another thing he appreciates is the fact they don’t have to change things up from McGee to Howard schematically. Their skill sets are similar enough to keep the game plan the same regardless of who is in the game. And Vogel expects the one not in the game will support and encourage the one playing.

“Yeah, I mean they have very similar skill sets, so we don’t really change a lot when one goes in for the other,” Vogel said. “So they both know and everybody on our team knows that when you’re not in the game, you’re going to pull for the guy playing at your position and help him be at his best.”

“And when you’re in the game, the other guy is going to be doing the same for you whether it’s at the center position or any of the positions.”

For now, Howard and McGee seem to have no problems playing with one another. Their games are similar enough to where they don’t have to change anything around them and the two can simply play their game by hustling and rebounding to help the Lakers win games.

If this can carry into the regular season, they will be vital parts of everything the Lakers want to do as a team. If they can’t, Anthony Davis may have to unwillingly take some extra time at center to help make up for it.