The Los Angeles Lakers are certainly at a low point in a tough 2021-22 season. They sit eight games under the .500 mark and have lost four straight since the All-Star break. Head coach Frank Vogel has dealt with just about everything from job security rumors to a lackluster roster.
Now his team is closer to missing out on the Play-In Tournament altogether than the No. 8 seed. They are only one game ahead of the New Orleans Pelicans for No. 10 and two games ahead of the Portland Trail Blazers at No. 11.
In order to avoid the worst-case scenario of dropping out of the Play-In tournament, Vogel and the Lakers must quickly find a way to win games. And that’s exactly what Vogel and his coaching staff were looking for.
“We’re just persistent and sticking with the job,” Vogel said after the loss to the LA Clippers on Thursday night.
“We are relentlessly looking for solutions to allow us to play better and we come the next day with adjustments or fundamentals that need to be better or ways to improve our team and no stone is turned over trying to find solutions for get this right, but it has not taken shape, but there is no surrender in us, we will continue to persist. We try to adapt and find ways to win with Anthony [Davis] outside. We haven’t found that yet. It’s not something we can’t do. We haven’t found it yet. It’s a disappointing defeat and we just have to persist.
Vogel spoke about Los Angeles’ struggles defensively, which has been his biggest adjustment as a generally steadfast defensive head coach.
“I’m proud of it, so it’s very difficult. But like I said, we keep evolving and trying different things,” Vogel said. “Trying things that I’ve never done as a coach. Just to try to shake things up a bit. Try to get some momentum behind our defence. We’re in the middle of the pack, but I’m surprised that we’re even in the middle of the pack. I’m just disappointed with how it went for our group here.
“Played a lot of zone volume early in the season,” Vogel said of his biggest adjustment. “Playing small ball, where we are changing everything at the moment. Just like one through five. Pick-and-roll one through five. Pin down. Just trying to play another brand of basketball when playing small trying to space out the other team. These are probably two of the biggest.
Vogel – a coach generally resistant to change unless absolutely necessary – has given up everything on his defensive identity to try to match the roster given to him. Obviously, everything they’ve done so far has failed.
Now they have just 20 games left to find some sort of recipe that not only keeps them in the Play-In tournament, but gives them a chance to advance to the first round of the playoffs.
Vogel disappointed for fans
After losing to the LA Clippers in blowout fashion, Vogel expressed his disappointment on behalf of the fans. Not just for the loss, but for being swept by the Clippers in the all-season series for the second year in a row.
“It’s harder for me because I know our fanbase wants to win this ‘Battle for LA’ and the fans are embracing it,” Vogel said. “So I’m disappointed for our Lakers fans for that, but at the end of the day, it’s a Western Conference team that beat us four times. It doesn’t matter if they’re in the same city.
Have you got subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive event coverage, participate in live broadcasts and more!