The Lakers lost another game on Wednesday night. LA lost to the Indiana Pacers, a 16-29 team, while still trying to cling to the deluded idea that they are a playoff team. Caris Levert torched the Lakers for 30 points, Domantas Sabonis dropped a triple-double (20/12/10), and other than LeBron James, the Lakers leading scorers all came off the bench. None of this alone spells Coach Frank Vogel's exit, but some other things do.
The Leaves Are Russell-ing
Russell Westbrook had yet another depressing performance. He scored 14 points, 2 rebounds, and 3 assists. Those 14 points came on a putrid 5/17 shooting performance. Look, I hate the "Westbrick" nickname, but Westbrook isn't doing himself any favors trying to shed it. His -18 from the floor probably isn't fair (as the entire starting lineup was in the negative) but it certainly doesn't help. Westbrook was benched in the last four minutes of the game by Frank Vogel. When asked why Westbrook was benched, Vogel's response said everything we need to know.
"Playing the guys I thought would win the game."
I remember a saying about politicians. It's been said that the politicians who know they are going to lose are always the ones who are allowed to speak the most freely. In that same vein, Vogel sure sounds like a coach who knows the end of the line is within sight.
Does He Deserve It?
I could not give a more empathic answer. Frank Vogel does not deserve to be canned. He inherited a preposterous roster. His preposterous roster immediately became a mess due to team-shattering injuries. His most important players have been injured or in Westbrook's case, have underperformed.
Vogel's rotations recently have been bad, there is no dancing around that. That alone, however, should not put a coach's job in jeopardy. It's just what happens in sports. When a team underperforms in the eyes of the world around them, the coach is the first to go.