Sportress of Blogitude

LeBron James defends Frank Vogel amid Lakers’ uneven start, points finger at players

The Los Angeles Lakers have gotten off to a sluggish start this season, and there are no shortage of reasons that help explain the team’s uneven play through 24 games. One factor that LeBron James feels is definitely not the source of the Lakers’ 12-12 start is Frank Vogel.

The Lakers head coach unsurprisingly is under scrutiny as the Lakers sit at .500 on the season. While James agrees that head coaches — even one who has a led a team to a championship — have to deal with these kind of situations when a team perceptively underperforms, he believes Vogel shouldn’t be the Lakers’ fall guy.

“I think criticism comes with the job, you know?” James said after practice on Monday, via ESPN. “Frank is a strong-minded guy. He has a great coaching staff. And we as his players have to do a better job of going out and producing on the floor. We’re a team and an organization that don’t mind some adversity, that don’t mind people saying things about us, obviously, because it comes with the territory.”

The Lakers overhauled their roster following last season’s humbling first-round playoff exit at the hands of the Phoenix Suns. The influx of new players, highlighted by the acquisition of superstar Russell Westbrook, has led to a lineup taking longer to gel than perhaps anticipated.

Injuries, including to James, who has appeared in only 12 of the Lakers’ 24 games, have also hampered the Lakers’ efforts to develop chemistry.

That being said, a 12-12 record is not acceptable for a Lakers team that boasts the likes of James, Anthony Davis, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo, among others. James recognizes the team boasting several future Hall of Famers has led to even greater scrutiny for an organization accustomed with attracting a lot of attention.

“We have a lot of guys on this team that have been bulletin-board material for quite a long time, so it don’t quite bother us,” James said. “Everything that we do stays in house when it comes to our preparation and how we prepare for our next opponent and how we prepare to get better. Frank doesn’t care and we don’t either about what people are saying.”

When a team that boasts a star-studded roster like the Lakers struggles, the head coach is often made the scapegoat. There is plenty of time for the Lakers to get back on track with Vogel running the show, and James clearly remains confident in his head coach despite this early-season rough patch.