Written By: James Jefferson
It’s been a very up and down season for LeBron James and his team, the Los Angeles Lakers. At the beginning of the season, expectations were high to say the very least but they have not found ways to deliver.
With a below .500 record of 24-27 up to this point, rumors have been swirling around head coach Frank Vogel and his job status recently and the team’s assessment of the overall roster. As of this two weeks ago, it was reported that Vogel’s job as head coach is in serious jeopardy and that he will be evaluated by general manager Rob Pelinka and owner Jeanie Buss on a game by game basis. The Lakers rank ninth in the Western Conference standings but here are the two most important numbers: seventeenth in defensive efficiency and twenty-third in offensive efficiency.
In addition to the disappointing coaching, there have been rumblings within the NBA that the Lakers roster might be heading for major changes by the February 10th trade deadline. At the centerpiece of trade rumors is their superstar point guard Russell Westbrook, who for the season has averaged roughly nineteen points, eight rebounds and eight assists per game this year. He also averages four turnovers per game.
Unfortunately, there is also a major price tag along with him of $44 million this season and the question now becomes, would any team be willing to take on his salary and his inconsistent performances? That remains to be seen. With LeBron James out with injury as of late, the pressure is mounting for Westbrook to deliver and be the second leader that the Lakers paid him to be.
As far as the rest of the roster is concerned, Talen-Horton Tucker and Avery Bradley have both been weak links on the team. Both have struggled on the defensive end of the floor in particular. Both are heavily rumored to be involved in trade talks leading up to the trade deadline. Dwight Howard? Waste of a signing. Carmelo Anthony? Not the same guy he was from New York so I would not be surprised if he is traded either.
There is a lot of work to be done in regards to turning this team into a championship contender once again. The question is: will Rob Pelinka and Jeanie Buss realize that serious changes need to be made before it is too late?