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Rival assistant coach lambasts Lakers' defense and old age

LeBron James-Carmelo Anthony

LeBron James-Carmelo Anthony

Being a devoted NBA fan has a lot of ups and downs. If you’re a diehard supporter of the Los Angeles Lakers, your season kicked off with a lot of promise given the team’s massive offseason haul which consisted of several future Hall-of-Famers. Now, over 20 games into the season, being a devotee of the Purple and Gold is not something one should wish on an enemy. 

Early season struggles

The team has an 11-11 record as of writing. Optimists would say that there’s a lot of season left and the veteran squad will figure things out soon. However, if you’re a pessimist or even just a rival coach, you will point out the obvious: the Lakers’ old age and the fact they cannot play defense.

They’re old and they can’t stay in front of anyone.

A rival assistant coach, Los Angeles Times

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Perhaps Lakers' critics were right to laugh at the team’s old age. They are the oldest team in the league right now with an average age of 30.9. The league average is 26.2 years old. LeBron James apparently got word of the jokes around his team’s age. While he found it hilarious, those who know the four-time NBA champ know that he’s using it as fuel to his fire. 

But from where the Lakers stand now, perhaps James needs to look for another source of inspiration. Yes, his team boasts years worth of basketball knowledge. But their razor-sharp minds are useless if their bodies are not in sync with it.

The Lakers' defensive drop-off

We all know the adage about defense — it wins championships. The Lakers front office was right in their decision when they hired head coach Frank Vogel in 2019. The man has built a reputation as one of the best defensive minds in the league. When the Lakers won the title in 2020, they ranked third in defense in the regular season with a 106.1 defensive rating. Last year, even amid all the injuries and a failed title defense, Vogel guided the Lakers to the best defense in the league with a 106.8 rating.

Now, the Lakers are nowhere near these numbers. They rank 18th with a 108.5 rating. This begs the question: has Vogel lost his defensive touch? Or are the Lakers’ old age working against them?

These two questions have been running through Lakers fans’ minds for the past few weeks. Whatever the answer is, the front office needs to come up with it quickly. They cannot let their historic offseason haul go to waste. 

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