X

NBA Agent: 'Lakers Focus Too Much on the Names vs. the Games of Each Person'

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVDecember 9, 2021

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 12: Russell Westbrook #0, LeBron James #6 and Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers look on during a preseason game against the Golden State Warriors on October 12, 2021 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

A "prominent" NBA agent reportedly took aim at the Los Angeles Lakers' roster-building approach after an expansive roster overhaul in the offseason that's only yielded a 13-12 record so far during the 2021-22 season.

"The Lakers focus too much on the names versus the games of each person," the unnamed agent told ESPN's Dave McMenamin for an article released Thursday.

L.A. head coach Frank Vogel has consistently preached the need for patience during the first few months of the season as the coaching staff worked to find the right combination for its rotation, an effort further slowed by LeBron James missing 12 of the team's first 25 games.

"We knew the early season was going to be bumpy, you know what I mean?" Vogel told reporters in late November. "This season is about peaking at the right time ... and understanding that we're going to use an 82-game season to learn each other and to grow each day, each game."

The Lakers' offseason was highlighted by the blockbuster trade for Russell Westbrook to create a new Big Three alongside James and Anthony Davis, but it also featured several free-agent signings to remake the bench, including Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard, among others.

While the high turnover guaranteed a transition period, the fact Los Angeles is still hovering around .500 more than a quarter of the way into the campaign is raising questions about whether the current construction of its roster will work.

L.A. has tried to put pressure on opponents by using its depth to keep players fresh while playing at the NBA's second-highest pace, but the results are modest at best as it ranks 21st in offensive efficiency and 12th in defensive efficiency, according to ESPN.

"The injuries and inconsistency have led the coaching staff to put everything on the table and ponder whether they have to change their high-paced plan on the fly," McMenamin reported.

Although the Lakers have shown some promising signs as of late, winning four of their last six games, there's still a lot of work to do before reaching a title-contention level.

That's part of the problem for James and Co. Sneaking into the playoffs as a low seed and getting eliminated in the first round, as they did last year, is seen as a massive failure, not laying the groundwork for future success as a team with so many veterans.

The good news for the Lakers is that there's still a lot of time left in the regular season to get things on the right track. Keeping their key players healthy for an extended stretch so roles can become more solidified will be important, though.

Los Angeles will look to continue trending in the right direction Thursday night when it visits the FedEx Forum to take on the Memphis Grizzlies.