LOS ANGELES—After one of the most disappointing seasons in the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers fired Head Coach Frank Vogelon Monday, April 11 after a 33-49 record.
Immediately following the Lakers 146-141 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that Vogel would be removed as the Lakers head coach after three seasons.
Vogel clearly recognized his days as coach of the Lakers was coming to an end, but finding out this life-changing decision from an NBA scoop reporter was unfair to him. This led to fans and sports media criticizing the way the Lakers organization treated Vogel throughout the process.
The Lakers took a risky gamble this off-season similar to the Dodgers and the Los Angeles Rams in signing all-star veteran free agents to yield instant results and success on the court. In acquiring Russell Westbrook, the Hall of Fame point guard, Vogel did not believe Russ would be a great fit for the Lakers.
Vogel and Westbrook never saw eye to eye, as the team failed to reach the playoffs, and the coach is now a casualty of the risky decision.
Westbrook needs to have the ball in his hands in order to succeed. What he was being asked to do as a Laker exposed flaws in his game. He has never been a good jump shooter, nor a great defender. He averaged 18.5 points per game and 7.5 rebounds
These issues could have been remedied with patience, a fresh perspective and personal accountability. Westbrook felt Vogel never gave him a fair shot. “I’ve never had an issue with any of my coaches before,” said Westbrook about Frank Vogel.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis were injured for a significant portion of the season. Davis missed 40 percent of the games, while James at 37, is still dominating the league.
When Davis, Westbrook and James were all in the lineup, the Lakers only went 11-10 over that stretch. The Lakers finished the season in the bottom 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. The Lakes lost 18 of 24 games following the All-Star break.