In the hours following the death of the Lakers’ postseason hopes, head coach Frank Vogel (who could be coaching his last games with the Purple and Gold), took some time to speak candidly on what went wrong.
In an exclusive interview with The Athletic, he did not hold any punches and had no issue admitting that Russell Westbrook has been a major problem.
One player who did not miss time was former MVP guard Russell Westbrook, who was acquired from the Washington Wizards in exchange for Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and a late first-round pick. Westbrook averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists on the season but struggled with efficiency in an up-and-down year. He averaged 29.8 percent on 3.4 3-point attempts a game.
Vogel admitted the team struggled when Westbrook did not have both James and Davis on the floor with him.
“We did not win at a high rate with Russ and another star and the rest of our role players,” Vogel said. “Whether it was Russ and AD with Bron out or Russ and Bron with AD out, we just haven’t won in those situations.”
As for what’s next, Vogel wouldn’t comment on the situation, saying, “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
Russ, 33, has played almost every game for the Lakers this season. Aside from a few bright spots here and there, his tenure has been an unmitigated disaster so far.
With some of the worst statistical averages of his career, and being point guard of a Lakers team that is 17 games under .500, it is no wonder why the 9x All-Star is getting so much heat. It’s hard to see where things go for him from here.
For Vogel, his future remains shrouded in almost just as much obscurity. With two disappointing campaigns in a row, one has to wonder if his voice has gone stale in the locker room. The word is, L.A. is already looking at potential replacements.
At this point, all we can do is wait and see how it all plays out when the season finally draws to a close next week.