From here on out, everything that Frank Vogel does will be analyzed under a microscope. With the recent reports suggesting his job is in jeopardy, one wrong move from the Lakers head coach could prove to be disastrous for his time in Los Angeles.
So when Vogel pulled Westbrook for the final 4 minutes of their loss to the Pacers, fans immediately had thoughts. That's sort of funny, given the recent scrutiny that Westbrook has fallen under himself.
But the latest report from ESPN's Dave McMenamin suggests that the move was cleared by the Lakers' upper management. Apparently, Vogel was cleared to coach Westbrook as he sees fit, which would include pulling him from games if he thinks he is struggling.
Over the past week and a half, Lakers management has told the coaching staff to coach Westbrook as the coaches see fit, even if that means pulling him from a game, as Vogel did for the final 3 minutes, 52 seconds of the fourth quarter against Indiana, sources told ESPN.
The move was only under fire given the Lakers' struggles and the more recent issues that fans have with Vogel. But that doesn't change the fact that they lost a big lead and got beat by one of the worst teams in basketball this year.
So while Vogel's decision might not have sat well with everyone, the Lakers have been much better defensively without him late in games. The stats were all there to support the decision, and the conversation would be much different had the Lakers pulled out the win.