Full disclosure, I like to follow LeBron and the Lakers. I guess you could also say that I enjoy LeBron the most of all the current Lakers. The Lakers have been interesting to watch over the years but this past season has been quite a disappointment. if you watch them over the course of 10 or more games this past season, you may come to the conclusion that they are not a smart basketball team. I say that as they often have a poor shot selection. I say that because they don't appear to hustle consistently and lack defensive prowess. Their offensive decision-making was quite offensive and you start to think these Lakers are not even mediocre. I pull for them but can't justify what I saw on the court this past year. Everyone in the organization needs to be accountable for this past season.
Lakers fire Frank Vogel, their head coach, and feel it's time for a new voice
Maybe the Lakers need a new voice as head coach, that's apparently what's being reported. I get it, your team does not make the playoffs in '22 and didn't play well so the first person to get the ax is typically the head coach. Perhaps a new voice is needed in the front office - in other words, many of their key role players were traded the last offseason. Role players who could play offensive but were also defensive-minded. Regardless of the coach, losing these role players did not help and one must realize some of the players they brought in apparently didn't help out the Lakers this season. Either LeBron James or the front office needs to be accountable too. When Anthony Davis was injured this year, they just didn't have the offensive or defensive to even play with half the games lost and a half won.
LeBron James on LA Lakers offseason roster moves: 'Not my decision'
Is LeBron tone-deaf? Perhaps he needs to spend less time on your business dealings and more time on the court and let the front office of the Lakers make the decisions. According to Rob Pelinka, the vice president of basketball operations and general manager, LeBron acted as a "stakeholder" when it came to personnel decisions. Who is LeBron kidding? he's provided input over the last several years while with the Lakers but now when shit hits the fan, he states that it's not his decision when it comes to offseason roster moves. Clever, LeBron.
Russell Westbrook should stop talking to the media to improve his likeability
During one of the final press conferences to a disappointing season, Russ mentioned that he doesn't know why the former LA Lakers coach (Frank Vogel) had issues with him and why the two didn't ultimately connect. Again, another tone-deaf Laker regarding his attitude toward the season. Let's unpack this. He has a 43 million or so contract for '22, a contract that made be slightly increased for '23.
Let's evaluate Russell's stats for 2022. He averaged 18.5 points per game, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.1 assists, most NBA analysts would glance at these stats and think they're respectable but let's unpack things further. He shot at 44.4% from the field (career 43.8) which are respectable numbers although many of those made field goals happened after he drove and scored close to the basket. To show his ultimate deficiency as a shooter, he shot 29.8% from the 3 point area this season which is close to his average of 30.5%. He only shot 66.7% from the free-throw line but has a career average of 78.3%. Once you evaluate all the stats, you find that he's a liability offensively. If you shoot less than 34% from the 3 point line, perhaps you shouldn't be shooting many of those long shots. You should be thinking more than once about throwing up a long shot. If you drive to the basket in an attempt to score and are fouled, perhaps frustration might set it that he's only shooting 66.7% from the free-throw line. Is it possible that the former coach had some run-ins with Russ for not passing the ball more and shooting too often? Perhaps with these numbers, Frank Vogel felt that 80% of his shots should have occurred as he attempted to drive to the basket. Perhaps Frank attempted to communicate that to Russ but was never received completely by the player. If that's part of the issue, then it makes perfect sense that Russ felt some animosity from Vogel.
General Manager Rob Pelinka should also be shown the door
So the Lakers are going in a new direction after firing Frank Vogel. Vogel, known as a defensive coach didn't seem to have a better roster than the '20 or '21 Lakers. I wonder who's at fault here? Frank didn't have any say in the players, that was something Pelinka is responsible for (in addition to LeBron's input). According to the Lakers' front office, it was time for a change and a new direction so the coach essentially took the fall for a poor season. I get it but I don't think that's how it should necessarily be played out.
A little more perspective shows the Lakers are 30 million dollars over the annual salary cap and don't have a first-round draft choice until 2025. It doesn't look super promising for the Lakers, he's been the Lakers GM for 6 years so most of the current makeup of the team ultimately resides with the GM.
Again, Frank Vogel was not involved in any of these decisions. It was ultimately up to the general manager, Rob Pelinka, who also appeared to underperform. What's good for the goose is good for the gander which means if Vogel underperformed, which is still debatable, so did Rob Pelinka. In other words, If Frank Vogel was fired, Pelinka should have been next. The next year or two may bare out whether Pelinka should have been kept on by the Lakers.