Despite the struggles they have experienced this season, the Los Angeles Lakers didn’t make a single move prior to the NBA‘s trade deadline earlier this week. But while their lack of activity was viewed as a negative by a large chunk of the fan base, that’s not necessarily how coach Frank Vogel sees the situation. Following the uncertainty that loomed over the team leading up to the deadline, Vogel thinks that the team will benefit from being able to finally move forward.
“It’s a new day,” Vogel said on Saturday. “I think our group had great energy today. Both in a team film session and in practice. I think there’s just a natural reset energy to our group, knowing that the trade deadline has passed… I think with that deadline passing and having a refreshed mindset today, our group had really good energy about going out and trying to win a game [Saturday] and understanding and believing in what we can do this year. This is the group that we put together to start the year. This is a group we believe in.”
Only time will tell if Vogel’s optimism is misguided or not, but there’s certainly reason for skepticism. The Lakers currently sit four games under .500, and at ninth in the Western Conference standings, and thus far Russell Westbrook has been unable to make things work with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Perhaps they’ll develop some solid chemistry over the back end of the season, but they’ve provided little reason to believe that will happen.
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The Lakers could have shaken things up prior to the deadline but opted against doing so. The Houston Rockets were reportedly willing to trade veteran guard John Wall to the Lakers for Westbrook, as long as a future first-round pick was also included. The Lakers declined the deal because they didn’t want to part with the pick. That could prove to be a mistake. Now, the Lakers’ only path to improvement — other than internally — is the buyout market, which will only get you so far.
L.A. has been hampered by injury issues all season, which hasn’t helped their cause. If they can get — and stay — healthy, perhaps they’ll be able to go on a run and improve their playoff positioning. If things continue on their current course though, this has the potential to go down as one of the most disappointing Lakers seasons of all time.