With LeBron James hopefully (read: mercifully) coming back from injury on Friday night when the Los Angeles Lakers face off in Boston against the Celtics, Frank Vogel is once again going to have a decision to make regarding his starting lineup. This week in “The Lakers Lounge,” the message from Harrison Faigen and myself is pretty simple:
Don’t overthink this, Frank.
Since his return, Talen Horton-Tucker has been arguably the second-best (maybe best?) player, and quite easily the Lakers’ outright best perimeter player. He applies pressure on the rim relentlessly, actually tries defensively and has even surprised with how he’s shot the ball from deep.
Now, we all know Vogel keeps his starting lineup decisions extremely (and hilariously) close to the vest, and he was never going to outright say that Horton-Tucker was definitely staying with the starting unit, but this decision is rather easy.
From there, we jumped into a conversation about Anthony Davis and his general demeanor on the court this season. Honestly, both Harrison and I can understand if he’s been a little cranky this season given the defensive downgrades that occurred all around him.
To wrap up the show, we felt like we had to acknowledge the amount of criticism landing at Vogel’s feet this season and, while he certainly isn’t blameless for the Lakers’ slow start, we can’t also act as if he put this roster together. Whoever is responsible for the Lakers employing zero (nada, zip, zilch) natural small forwards outside of LeBron deserves more attention.
This doesn’t mean Vogel is completely off the hook here, and he’ll have to adjust to the reality of this roster, but anyone who thinks firing Vogel would immediately fix the Lakers is seriously oversimplifying this.
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