Frank Vogel calls Lakers’ blowout loss to Suns “unacceptable”

Frank Vogel
Image credit: Katelyn Mulcahy / Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers were embarrassed on national television yet again, this time getting blown out on the road against the Phoenix Suns. The final score was 140-111, with the 140 points being the most the Lakers’ defense has surrendered in a game that ended in regulation. Afterward, the Lakers were as down in the dumps as you could imagine they would be, with head coach Frank Vogel seeming the most exasperated he’s seemed in any post-game press conference in his Lakers career.

Through the tone of Vogel’s voice, you can tell just how upset he is. Around 0:32 of the video courtesy of Spectrum SportsNet below, you can hear Lakers reporter Mike Trudell ask Vogel about the two early timeouts he called in the first half of the 1st quarter against the Suns, and what he was trying to address at that point of the game. Vogel starts off his response with the closest to yelling that you’ll probably get from him in media availability, going on to say the following:

“Got to take better shots and we’ve got to take care of the basketball. We’re taking terrible shots and we’re turning the ball over. And they’re just getting run-outs. Obviously, that puts you at a disadvantage to start, and then the defensive disposition needed to be better, again, in what is a tough matchup with how we want to try to minimize the damage of what Ayton can do inside while playing small and giving us the offensive space. But if we’re not going to use the offensive space and we’re going to turn the basketball over and take bad shots then it doesn’t matter what kind of space we have. You can’t compromise your defense if you’re not going to take advantage of that.”

Later in the video, starting around 1:53, Vogel is asked where to even start when fixing the defensive issues the team has. Instead of saying an answer that focuses on the defense, Vogel instead focuses on the offense and how their best “chance” to win involves drastic sacrifices on the defensive end:

“Look, we’re trying to make things happen with a smaller lineup which is benefitting our best player offensively and giving us a chance. But it’s not a lineup that’s built to be great defensively… unless we really execute our switching the right way and everything that goes into negotiating through some of the mismatches that are created. Certain opponents are tougher to do that against than others. If you go back, we started the second half a different way, with a more conventional lineup with Dwight… I don’t know if that was much better.”

The above quote seems to serve as a verbal waiving of the white flag for Vogel, as he is sort of just shrugging at the idea of improving the defense at this point. Vogel has had passive-aggressive digs at the front office’s roster construction all season by just pointing out the things that the team doesn’t have the “personnel” for, with this quote seeming like another instance of that.

Vogel has abandoned all of his defensive principles after realizing (finally) that this team can’t play the type of aggressive defense he wants to play, even when Anthony Davis is healthy. Instead, the team has decided to just focus on the offensive end, trying to create the most space for their “best player”, LeBron James, to be able to work. Of course, offensive spacing is also extremely beneficial for Russell Westbrook who can’t shoot at all (easily arguable that it’s far more needed for him than LeBron), but Vogel appears to be giving up on trying to make things easier for him.

Vogel’s post-game appearance wasn’t the only depressing instance of verbal shrugging on how to improve this situation. LeBron James and Malik Monk expressed similar, if not more hopeless sentiments about the team’s chances the rest of the way as this tire fire of a season continues to roll on.

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