A quarter into the 2021-22 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers are nowhere near the top of the Western Conference standings. They entered the season as the most hyped team primarily because of their offseason haul. Not only did they land Russell Westbrook in a blockbuster trade, but they also added (and re-added) future Hall of Famers like Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, and Rajon Rondo.
Now that things aren't going too well for the Purple and Gold, both fans and critics have constantly been sharing their opinions on how the team can turn things around. They're all pretty much saying the same thing: the Lakers need to play defense. A Lakers legend, one of the most intelligent players in history noted the same thing. For Magic Johnson, the only way Frank Vogel and the crew can turn things around is if they step up their defensive stance at all levels.
Whether you're a casual fan or a basketball savant like Johnson, you will agree that Vogel's trademark defense isn't at an elite level at this point. Johnson's trained eye sees this. Statistics back up his observations very well.
The Lakers currently have a 108.6 defensive rating for 16th place in the league. In the 2019-20 season — the Lakers' championship year — Vogel powered them to third place with a 106.1 defensive rating. Last year, despite all the injuries, the Lakers were the best defensive team in the NBA with a 106.8 rating.
Vogel has been receiving a beat down from Lakers fans all over social media. After every Lakers loss, a call for his firing trends on social media and various rumors on who will likely replace him crop up on news sites. Whereas fans want him out, Kendrick Perkins noted that the responsibility is not on Vogel alone. The entire Lakers squad — filled with veterans — is stained with guilt as well.
Whatever fate the Lakers hold — whether they let go of Vogel or pull out another massive trade — one thing is certain: they must address their defense.