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Gilbert Arenas says it's time for Lakers coach Frank Vogel to "Try some s**t!"


The Los Angeles Lakers are off to an 8-7 start, barely keeping their heads above water as they try to figure out the Russell Westbrook experiment while LeBron James is out with an injury. Being the new guy, Westbrook is getting much of the blame, with critics citing a history of his reluctance to buy into a team-first mentally as the main reason it has not worked out between Russ and his new team.

While there is reason to believe this theory that Westbrook only plays to serve his interests alone, many former teammates and players in the league have come to his defense. It's easy to blame one player, especially one with Russ's history, but can most of the blame really fall on one person?

The answer is no, and while the Lakers do need Russ to play better basketball, there are many things that the Lakers are not getting right to start the season. Health is one, with LeBron James missing several games due to various injuries, along with key role players who have yet to take the court in a Lakers uniform. Surprisingly, Anthony Davis has played in all of the Lakers' games so far, but has yet to showcase his dominance. Even without LeBron James, Davis is struggling to get going as he learns how to share the court with Russell Westbrook. One person has yet to be in the hot seat: Lakers Head Coach Frank Vogel.

"I think with this roster, he gets a C or C plus at best. Vogel needs to try some sh*t."

Gilbert Arenas, “No Chill with Gilbert Arenas”

Head Coach Frank Vogel is somewhat lucky that the star he is trying to incorporate is Westbrook because if it doesn't work, the age-old narrative of Russ being selfish and unwilling to sacrifice for the team will always give Vogel a way out. However, this would not be the first time that Vogel is having trouble incorporating a talented player into his system; just look at what happened with former Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell.

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"People say they didn't know how to play Trez in LA. Isn't it your job to know how to play a guy? Isn't it your job to know how to use that talent properly?"

Gilbert Arenas, “No Chill with Gilbert Arenas”

Arenas made a valid point, especially given the resurgence Harrell is having alongside Kyle Kuzma in Washington. The two former Lakers were sent to Washington together with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in exchange for Westbrook and are now thriving with the chance of scenery under the coaching of Wes Unseld Jr.

As for Russ, he continues to struggle to find his rhythm with LeBron James out, a surprising occurrence now that he no longer needs to split ball-handling duties with another star. Westbrook averages five turnovers a game and continues to shoot poorly from the field, but looking at how Harrell is playing in Washington, one can't help but wonder if Westbrook has just not been in a position to succeed.

Arenas is right - it is Vogel's job to figure this thing out and put Russ in a position to succeed, but that will not happen unless he is willing to get creative. Teams know precisely how to cover and score on them, yet we have not seen any significant rotational changes from Vogel.

The whole point of bringing in Westbrook was to save some of LeBron's energy during the regular season, giving James rest while allowing Westbrook to play his game. However, Westbrook is not making the most out of this time without LeBron and looks even more tentative than he did in games when James was available. Is Vogel trying to turn Russ into something he is not? Is it messing up Russ' rhythm? Or is Russell just too much to handle for Frank Vogel?

Whatever it is, the Lakers need to figure this out quickly, and to solve a recurring problem, one must try different approaches. We know Vogel to be a great defensive mind, but with an older team, maybe it's not purely about defense anymore. It's time for Vogel to get creative and try to change some things, or else he might be the one due for a big change.

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