Lakers’ Coach Frank Vogel Defends Russell Westbrook Amidst Major Backlash

Published 10/10/2021, 1:21 AM EDT
Oct 6, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (left) with guard Russell Westbrook prior to the preseason game against the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


Having played three preseason games, the Los Angeles Lakers are yet to register a win. While they played two games without LeBron James and Russell Westbrook, both of them were on the lineup against the Golden State Warriors. The result, however, was an unexpected 121-114 loss for the Lakers.

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Westbrook, who completed the team’s big three this year, only played the first half. His 17-minute play resulted in 2 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists. Even though a preseason game is in no way an indication for the upcoming regular season, Westbrook’s performance failed to impress many.

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However, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel continues to defend one of his stars.

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Lakers coach defend Russell Westbrook after preseason debut vs Golden State Warriors

When asked about the 2017 NBA MVP, Vogel was confident and believed that Westbrook had good energy, and it was good to see him play for the first time.

He debuted with DeAndre Jordan, Malik Monk, LeBron James, and Kent Bazemore on the starting lineup with him. Dwight Howard led the team with 23 points, Bazemore and Jordan scoring 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Vogel did admit to some rust on Westbrook’s game. “The adjustment period is something we expect with those guys,” he said. “But I thought both of them played with great energy.”

He ended up speaking of how Westbrook performed, explaining why he might have done so. “I thought Russ even was, you know, maybe trying to create play unselfishly too much on couple possessions that led to some turnovers.”

Despite what others might be saying, Vogel was convinced it was an overall good start.

Sep 28, 2021; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook (0) answers questions during media day at the UCLA Health and Training Center in El Segundo, Calif. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

How did LeBron James perform?

James, who was to star with Westbrook, scored 9 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists. He was on the court for 18 minutes.

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That being said, Vogel also revealed that while nothing is finalized, both James and Westbrook will be playing at least two preseason games.

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The Lakers’ next game is scheduled against the Phoenix Suns.

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Devika

323 articles

Devika Pawar is a Golf and NBA writer at Essentially Sports. A psychology graduate from KJ Somaiya, Devika has an experience with sportswriting at Republic World for around two years now. She loves NBA a little too much, and is a dedicated Golden State Warriors fan.

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