The Los Angeles Lakers can’t seem to find their footing this season. The team fell under .500 once again on Friday with a 141-137 loss to the Sacramento Kings in triple overtime. Luckily, they are still the seventh seed in the Western Conference and are still on track for a playoff berth. However, this team aspires to be much more than just a playoff contender.
There’s no clear fix to the team’s woes but they’ll have to switch things up at some point. One of the most curious lineup choices that head coach Frank Vogel has made is continuously starting center DeAndre Jordan. He’s started 14 of the team’s 21 games. Part of the appeal of trading for Russell Westbrook was that Anthony Davis was going to start playing more games at center. That hasn’t been the case yet.
Jordan is only averaging 4.8 points a game and his presence really hurts the Lakers’ floor spacing. Fox Sports’ Nick Wright has seen enough and thinks that general manager Rob Pelinka needs to take drastic measures to keep Vogel from playing the center.
“There’s a moment in [Moneyball] where Brad Pitt, who’s the GM of the team, is so frustrated that Art Howe, played by the late great Philip Seymour Hoffman, who won’t stop playing I think is a first baseman he doesn’t like so you know what Brad Pitt does? Walks in Art Howe’s office and says you can’t play him today. He’s like, ‘Well I’m playing him today.’ [Pitt] says, ‘No, you literally can’t, he’s not on the team anymore,'” Wright said on First Things First.
“Rob Pelinka, you are Brad Pitt … and in this situation, Frank Vogel is Art Howe,” Wright added. “You need to walk in his office and say you can’t play DeAndre Jordan anymore … You literally can’t start him because he’s no longer on the team. … At some point, someone from the top needs to do something the staff won’t do.”
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Lakers Aren’t Great When Jordan Doesn’t Start
It would be nice if the Lakers could point to one player and place the blame on them for their struggles. Jordan hasn’t been a great player for the team but he’s not their biggest issue. They are 3-4 in games where he doesn’t start. They are 7-7 in games where he does start so there isn’t a huge difference with how the team plays whether he starts or not.
Unfortunately, the Lakers just aren’t a great team right now. Injuries have played a role but getting healthy isn’t going to magically fix their issues.
LeBron James Talks Lakers’ Struggles
LeBron James isn’t used to his teams struggling this much in the regular season. When he first joined the Miami Heat, the team started off 9-8 and didn’t look very good. They ended up figuring things out and making it to the NBA Finals. However, LeBron was younger and healthier back then. He was able to play in the loss to the Kings but acknowledged that he needs to play better.
“Obviously, I haven’t played many games. I’ve been in and out of the lineup,” LeBron said after Friday’s loss. “We still have two of our guys that haven’t played at all yet in [Trevor Ariza] and [Kendrick Nunn]. Make no mistake, we still have to play Laker basketball. We still have to defend at a high level. We have to share the ball offensively and not turn the ball over.
“Obviously, tonight, horrible turnovers on my part. I feel like I played a horrible game individually, and I hold myself to a higher standard than that. I have to better for this team, especially when we’re going through what we’re going through right now out on the floor.”