The latest rumor floating around the NBA is that Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel is at risk of losing his job.
It shouldn’t be surprising to hear that Vogel’s future is at risk: the Lakers are clinging to the eighth spot in the Western Conference with a 22-23 record.
Frank Vogel's job is in serious jeopardy, per @TheAthletic
“Vogel is being evaluated on a game-to-game basis and remains at risk of being fired soon if the progress doesn’t continue” pic.twitter.com/J0oxcCpgZ9
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) January 18, 2022
While there have been certain uncontrollable problems, such as COVID absences and other injuries, nearly everyone expected the team to be doing much, much better than they are at this point.
But is firing Vogel the right move and, more importantly, will it result in the Lakers getting it together and performing at a higher level?
Out Of His Hands
It’s not Vogel’s fault that LeBron James has suffered injuries.
Additionally, it’s not his fault that Anthony Davis has become much more fragile recently.
And of course he has no control over COVID-19 and the health and safety protocols in place because of it.
All of this means that many of the problems plaguing the Lakers aren’t because of Vogel.
He is coaching with the team and the circumstances he’s been handed and, for that reason, he shouldn’t be fired at this point.
That’s not to say that Vogel isn’t at fault for some of the issues that are dragging LA down: he has been incredibly slow to figure things out.
For example, it seemingly took him ages to figure out that DeAndre Jordan wasn’t working out in the lineup.
Plus he has not figured out how to rein Russell Westbrook in or significantly change his style of play.
However, some speculation suggests that Vogel’s hands have been tied regarding Westbrook.
Again, he is doing the best he can with a pretty bad situation.
Vogel needs to act as if his career is on the line, even if he isn’t getting canned.
He needs the team to start playing like the entire season is at stake because, honestly, it is.
There are signs that Vogel is learning and finally adapting his coaching style although it’s taken him way too long to get to this point.
James has been successfully playing as center recently, a move that has worked out very well for the team and should be pursued much more even when Davis returns.
And the other night when the Lakers were going down against the Indiana Pacers, Vogel benched Westbrook – a move that people had been demanding for weeks.
Frank Vogel on his decision to sub out Russell Westbrook for the final four minutes of the game: “Playing the guys that I thought were going to win the game”
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 20, 2022
There are all small signs that Vogel is well aware the team isn’t playing as it should and adjustments need to be made.
They should have been made months ago, honestly, but at least something is being done, even if it’s months overdue.
Vogel shouldn’t be fired just yet but if he doesn’t continue to show that he is urgently changing the way the team works, he should be sent packing before the season is done.
Time hasn’t run out yet for Vogel but the clock is definitely ticking.