The Los Angeles Lakers severely underperformed in 2021-22, leading to the dismissal of head coach Frank Vogel.
Vogel paid the biggest price for the nightmare season even though the Lakers franchise collectively contributed to the failures of last year. Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Rob Pelinka acknowledged his front office made errors while putting the 2021-22 roster together, admitting it “did not work.”
LeBron James and Anthony Davies share some of the blame for the roster’s deficiencies, as they advocated for bringing in Russell Westbrook, who proved to be a poor fit.
Pelinka said the Lakers would learn from their mistakes and make sure the team can compete for the title again next season.
“Listen, this was a disappointing Lakers season at every level,” he said. “I think in the face of disappointment, our fans expect more and that’s in every facet. It starts with the front office, led by me, and our ability to construct the right roster. It starts with the coaches holding players accountable and making sure that there’s on-court execution. It goes to our training staff doing everything they can to have healthy bodies on the court and it goes to our players to play with on-court execution at the highest level because that’s what Lakers fans expect and deserve from all of us.
“So I think when you have disappointment, you take ownership of that and you need to vow to make the adjustments to be better. That’s where the work starts today, we have exit interviews with every player so we’ll get a chance to get their thoughts and really reflect on ways that we can be better across the board because that’s what Lakers fans expect here.
“They expect championship-level basketball every season, we know that and we want to deliver that to our fans. And the work to do that for next season starts now. We’ve been in this place before, we know what it takes to put in the work to fix it and that’s where our energy and time will be spent over the coming days.”
Even though L.A. finished with the worst record of the James era — and the fewest wins the four-time NBA champion’s teams had racked up in a single season before — Pelinka doesn’t think the horrific 2021-22 season hurt the Lakers brand.
“I guess first, I think the Lakers franchise is one of the most respected in all of sports across the globe and I think that will remain to be the case and we’ll put the work behind to make sure that’s the case because again, that’s what our fans expect,” he said.
Pelinka outlines Lakers’ ‘methodical process’ of selecting new head coach
Pelinka said the Lakers would conduct a thorough head coach search, making sure they get the right person for the job.
“I think it’s gonna be a very methodical process and I think the principles here are not to pick an end date and say ‘hey, we have to have someone by this date.’ I think we want to find the right person, that’s the most important thing,” the general manager said.
“I think, all things considered, it would be great to have someone in place by the draft. But our process will be thorough and methodical. We haven’t even begun to put together a list or discuss who the replacement is.”
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