Lakers News: L.A.’s Bumpy Start Is Exonerating At Least One Ex-Laker
But it’s certainly an indictment of a current Laker.
Your Los Angeles Lakers have gotten off to a brutal 1-5 start this season. Though that record is in part a result of L.A. playing against just plain superior competition, it’s still been tough to a see a team led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis floundering near the bottom of the Western Conference.
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Last year, a lot of the Lakers’ struggles during their 2021-22 season, were wrongly blamed on former head coach Frank Vogel. When the season wrapped up with an uninspiring 33-49 finis and missed even the play-in tournament, Los Angeles booted the coach that led it to the 2020 title just two seasons prior.
The issue was never Frank Vogel.
The issue was always the Lakers’ front office.
How much of that is actually Rob Pelinka, as opposed to the fact that it seems Pelinka is hamstrung by several Buss children and Rambuses, is irrelevant for this conversation. However the hierarchy of the team’s decision makers breaks down, what matters is that Frank Vogel did not construct last year’s (or this year’s) miserable rosters.
During the two seasons L.A. was good in Vogel’s tenure, the team ranked in the top three in defensive efficiency, thanks in large part to awesome perimeter defenders like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso. In trading for Russell Westbrook during the summer of 2021, Los Angeles had ultimately overreacted to a disappointing 42-30 record in 2020-21, when stars James and Davis got hurt for much of the season (after the shortest year-to-year turnaround in the history of any of the four major U.S. team sports) and the club finished with the seventh seed in the West.
Vogel felt like a lame-duck head coach throughout much of his final Los Angeles season, with rumors constantly leaking that he could be replaced during the season. He deserved better, given that his club ceded major minutes to several players (Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Stanley Johnson, Avery Bradley, Trevor Ariza, Wayne Ellington, D.J. Augustin, Kent Bazemore, Rajon Rondo) who are currently out of the league.