The Playoffs are in full swing this year with teams in both conferences battling it out for the most treasured prize in basketball, the NBA championship. A major difference this year is the fact that arguably one of the greatest to ever play the game, that being LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers is not involved in the series. LeBron is absent from the competition for the first time in 13 seasons.
Lakers fans had high hopes for the LA team when the 4x MVP joined the team and assembled an all-star squad with the likes of Anthony Davies and Russell Westbrook joining the yellow and purple. The team were expected to do incredibly well this year due to the stacked team that Vogel and LeBron had put together, but unfortunately for them they finished the season with a record of 33-49 landing them in 11th place in the Western Conference standings.
But what exactly went wrong for the Los Angeles Lakers?
Many fans of course are quick to point the figure at the captain of the squad as one of the sole reasons that the team failed this year. For years supporters have thought that LeBron has had too much involvement in the teams that he has played for and has become the coach of every team he has played for. Despite this LeBron still put-up spectacular numbers this season finishing the season with 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game, showing that the 37-year-old still has what it takes to put out impressive performances on a daily basis. LeBron being the player he is of course, deserves to be the dominant ball-handler on the team as he has shown throughout his career that he is able to command his players to reach their full potential when on the court. Some fans believe that the “LA lifestyle” has got to LeBron and becoming a celebrity they believe is more important to James than winning championships.
Russell Westbrook is undoubtedly one of the greatest point guards to ever grace the game of basketball. To be able to put up the numbers he has done over the past few seasons at the position he plays has already cemented him as one of the best to play the game. Sadly, this did not translate well to the 21/22 season. If you ask most Lakers fans what went wrong with the season Westbrook has taken the brunt of the blame. Even with the likes of LeBron and Davies as support Westbrook’s numbers dipped this year and he did not seem to gel with the squad. Lakers fans are one of the hardest crowds to impressive due to the global popularity of the team and many were left feeling if this was the reason that Russ seemed to falter this season. A lot of critics and fans alike can see Westbrook leaving the Lakers squad in the off-season and finding a team that better suits his playstyle as having two ball-dominant players on the squad did not work for the LA-based team this year.
Frank Vogel has a stellar record as an NBA coach. But like the team that he led into battle this season he sadly failed to perform. Vogel has been ousted already as one of the problems as the team has already cut ties with the coach. It seems though that a lot of the blame has been put on his shoulders due to the team firing Vogel, but many fans are skeptical that this change won’t have much of an effect if the team don’t make the right moves for their squad in the offseason.
It’s weird not seeing LeBron in the Playoffs and many are hoping to see a return to form for the 4x NBA champion next season.