After the loss to the Milwaukee Bucks to start off the five-game road trip, Laker fans have been impatient with Frank Vogel as coach and Russell Westbrook as to his fit with the team. With 16 games in the books, the Lakers are sitting at .500 with an 8-8 record.
The inconsistencies with the team have ranged from looking like a team created on the playground to a squad that has showed their capabilities of lockdown defense in quarter spurts. Obviously, LeBron James has only played six of the 16 games so far, so this is not a fair measurement of where the team is at this point, but we cannot overlook the flaws this team has at this point.
Long time NBA Insider Marc Stein hopped on Spotify Greenrooms to talk NBA basketball, and the topic of head coach Frank Vogel’s status came up, and Stein gave some troubling context to Vogel’s situation.
“Frank’s seat was toasty from minute one going into the season purely by virtue of the fact he only got a one-year extension. I cannot believe given the championship he won pretty much right off the bat, how that doesn’t get you an extension sooner, and how that didn’t get you more than a year. In coaching circles, it just kinda left a vibe of ‘well he’s being set up to be a scapegoat, in case things don’t go well’. That’s not coming from within the Lakers’ orbit, that’s more analysis from people around the league watching the situation. He has an incredible tough job, with an incredibly flawed roster, and if you wanna blame Vogel and think someone is going to come in and fix the Lakers issues, be my guest.”
Stein basically wonders aloud why Vogel is getting blame for an imperfect roster with his lameduck one-year contract extension. The Lakers are merely looking for ways to put the blame on him if things go south, so Rob Pelinka and the front office will not have to face the music for now.
Regarding Russell Westbrook's fit in Los Angeles, Stein had this to say about the former MVP.
At this point, the Lakers are all hands-on deck with the Brodie. It’s just too early to admit that the trade was a mistake, and yet Pelinka and the staff will have to see it through. Stein has a point that at this point, there is no other place that he can flip Westbrook to.
Fans will just have to hold their breathes and see how the Russell Westbrook experiment plays out, and to see if Frank Vogel can survive past this season.