The Los Angeles Lakers have looked like a significantly better team over the last two weeks with the return of LeBron James. Who would've guessed? Some of the structural problems with the roster, like a lack of shooting and turnovers, remain. But LeBron, as always, is the spoon that stirs the drink and the Lakers will be fine at worst with him playing regular minutes.
This was reinforced last night when the Lakers easily took down the Boston Celtics in a classic primetime rivalry matchup on TNT. LeBron finished with 30 points, five assists, and four rebounds in the 15-point victory. Los Angeles utterly dominated the paint on both ends of the floor, giving a glimpse of what a fully-realized version of this team could be.
What he is saying isn't necessarily untrue. The Lakers expect to compete for a championship this year. Going .500 for an entire season would not be conducive to that goal, and Los Angeles has no time to waste.
But what a weird time to talk about it. Vogel's job has been a talking point over the last week as the Lakers struggled, and there is a past example of a LeBron-led team canning their head coach sooner rather than later if it's obvious things aren't clicking.
But Vogel won a title 14 months ago! October of 2020 feels like decades in the past but it was barely over a year ago. That alone should get him some wiggle room. Then one considers, again, that the Lakers have only had their best player for 13 of their 25 games played so far. No coach can weather that storm any better than Vogel did, especially with the roster Rob Pelinka has given him.
Vogel isn't an all-time great coach or anything, but the man has proven to be a winner. Let's revisit his job security when LeBron actually plays a few consecutive weeks. Doing so before feels disingenuous.