There’s an obvious issue with the Lakers this season, but it isn’t defense. The team is getting destroyed on offense by teams that are built for speed and quickness, so they need to figure out how to adjust quickly. One of the issues may be a lack of veteran leadership–the veterans aren’t playing well because they’re not being given clear instructions or someone who can help them improve their game
The “Kendrick Perkins pins blame for Lakers awful start on the veterans, not Frank Vogel” is a story that has been circulating around the internet. The article states that Kendrick Perkins blames the poor start of the Lakers season on the veterans and not Frank Vogel.
Frank Vogel has a reputation for being a defensive-minded coach. His Indiana Pacers never finished worse than 10th in the NBA in defensive efficiency throughout his five seasons with the organization. His first two Los Angeles Lakers teams finished third and first, respectively. That isn’t to argue Vogel’s track record is flawless. His two seasons with the Orlando Magic saw him lead the team to the 24th and 20th defensive rankings, respectively. Nonetheless, his corpus of work demonstrates that he has had more success than failure in halting opponents.
The Lakers do not lead the NBA in defensive efficiency this season. They aren’t even in the top ten. They aren’t even in the top half. LA is now 10–11 at the half-way mark of the season, ranking 18th in the league with a whopping 108.8 points per 100 possessions allowed. However, ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins does not believe Vogel is to blame.
The warmth of Frank Vogel’s seat is causing quite a stir.
The Lakers’ veterans, not coach Frank Vogel, are to blame for the team’s slow start, according to NBA champion Kendrick Perkins. | Getty Images/Elsa
The intrigue about Frank Vogel’s job security with the Lakers has grown since the Sacramento Kings dismissed coach Luke Walton on Nov. 21. Vogel’s situation has been a heated issue in coaching circles throughout the NBA, according to Marc Stein of Substack.
The Lakers do not resemble the 2019–20 championship team, nor do they resemble last season’s top-ranked defensive team.
That might be due to the fact that no one now donning the Lakers’ purple and gold was on the roster last season, with the exception of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Talen Horton-Tucker. The fact that combo forward Trevor Ariza hasn’t played since preseason surgery on his right ankle didn’t help matters.
Ariza, on the other hand, shouldn’t be the make-or-break guy in your defensive scheme on a star-studded roster that includes four members of the NBA 75th Anniversary team.
On Nov. 26, the Los Angeles Lakers were unable to defeat the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center. Before forcing overtime, they lost a 13-point advantage in the fourth quarter. The Lakers then built a seven-point lead in the first overtime period in little over two minutes. It took a James basket to send LA to the third overtime period, where the Kings cruised to victory.
Sacramento’s offense is in the top ten, while their defense is in the bottom five. Good teams don’t give up double-digit leads to the Kings late in the game. So, how good are the Lakers?
Perkins defends the Lakers’ shoddy defense, which he blames on Frank Vogel.
Perkins was amused by the rumors concerning Frank Vogel’s work position with the Lakers. Instead, when it came to assigning responsibility for the disaster, the former NBA champion took to Twitter to point to the average age of the roster:
“I find it amusing that many blame Vogel for the lack of defensive effort! You’ve got a VETERAN ball club that’s having several defensive breakdowns and can’t seem to get into setups to run some solid offense. That can’t be blamed on the coach. That’s what your VETS are for! Period.”
The Lakers’ Kendrick Perkins
Nine Lakers are in their tenth or later season. James is in his 19th season, as is Carmelo Anthony, an offseason acquisition whose bench scoring has been outstanding.
Few defensive signs point to a positive outcome for LA. The Lakers’ opponent’s free-throw rate is second to lowest in the NBA, while their offensive rebounding % is 25th. In terms of opponent turnover rate, they are in the top ten. That brings us to the conclusion of the highlights.
The Lakers might be in serious danger if their defense wins titles.
James has been named to the All-Defensive team six times. However, he was a member of the Miami Heat in 2013–14 when he last made the cut. More than 21,000 regular-season and playoff minutes have passed since then.
Davis, on the other hand, has a reputation as a tenacious defender. However, of the 210 players who have faced at least 100 shots in the restricted area, 210 have held opponents to a worse percentage than Davis’s 66.0 percent.
In the restricted area, opponents are shooting 62.0 percent against the Lakers, which is good for 19th in the NBA. Only three teams allow more wide-open shots per game (closest defender six feet or more away) than Los Angeles (22.9 per game). This is a certain way to lose a bunch of easy points.
Even yet, the Lakers have had a lot of success. Opponents have hit just 38.5 percent of the 18.8 wide-open 3-point attempts allowed by LA, which ranks in the middle of the NBA. Memphis has the lowest percentage (41.6%), while Milwaukee has the best luck (30.3%), with just 30.3 percent of wide-open 3s falling against them.
There are a few things that may help. James has been in and out of the lineup due to injuries, and the roster has little consistency. This may alter how quickly and confidently defenders make judgments. On defense, hesitation generally results in the loss of favorable possibilities. The Lakers, on the other hand, have a history of playing up or down to the competition.
Still, blaming the players for everything isn’t fair. Yes, they must carry out the plans. Frank Vogel, on the other hand, must place his defenders in situations where they may succeed. The Lakers are falling short time and time again in the never-ending game of defensive adjustments.
Basketball Reference and NBA.com provided the statistics.
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