After trading for Russell Westbrook over the summer, expectations heightened for the Lakers, who were looking to match the dominance they once displayed during their title run in 2020.
Unfortunately, Westbrook's arrival has done little to restore the Lakers to their title contention status, and they sit just 12-12 on the season.
In a recent segment on First Take, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith explained what kind of fallout will result if this trend continues for L.A. According to him, it could cost head coach Frank Vogel his job.
“I expect the Lakers to fire Frank Vogel. I am not advocating it by any stretch of the imagination. I like Frank Vogel. Frank Vogel has been a top notch defensive mind in the NBA. I think that he’s a champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, he’s already delivered that.
But these are the Lakers. This is tinsel town. … We’ve got questions about chemistry. We’ve got questions about commitment and dedication. We damn sure got questions about their defense. … If this continues, Frank Vogel in my opinion will not be the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers come All-Star break.”
Lakers fans have been calling for Vogel's job for weeks now, blaming him for their struggles on both ends of the floor.
Some have come to his defense, like former Celtics big man Kendrick Perkins, who called out the effort by the players.
"People blaming Vogel for the lack of defensive effort is funny to me! You have a VETERAN ball club that are having multiple breakdowns on the defensive and offensively can’t get into sets to run some good offense. Can’t BLAME the Coach for that. That’s on your VETS! Period."
Vogel coached for 6 seasons in Indiana before being hired by the Magic and then, finally, the Lakers in 2019.
Hailed as a defensive specialist, he was widely praised for his role in L.A.'s 2020 Championship run.
But now, amid major struggles, his job is at stake. If the Lakers don't start turning the tide, they might have a new coach in the near future. Only time will tell how it all plays out.