The Los Angeles Lakers came into the 2021-22 NBA season as title favorites. It was them and the Brooklyn Nets. Both teams struggled in the early going, but the Nets quickly rebounded and now sit atop the Eastern Conference.
L.A., meanwhile, continues to struggle. The Lakers are currently 10-10 on the year – good for ninth place in the West.
Apparently all the failure has taken its toll on head coach Frank Vogel’s job standing. According to NBA insider Marc Stein, Vogel is very much on the hot seat.
“There is also rising buzz in coaching circles about the pressure mounting on Frank Vogel given the Lakers’ worrisome 10-10 start … given L.A.’s lack of flexibility to make roster changes,” he said.
It’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time Vogel’s short-term future has been brought up. A few months back, there was talk of how he was coaching for his job in the early going of this season. If that has in fact been the case, then it stands to reason that Lakers brass probably isn’t very happy with the results they’re seeing.
Twenty games into the season is generally too early to make any rash decisions, but the Lakers’ title window is a small one. No season can be wasted – and that may spur the front office to make drastic moves a lot faster than anyone would expect.
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Related slideshow: The best possible fictional basketball team (Provided by Yardbarker)
The best basketball team made up of fictional players
It’s not easy putting together a team of fictional basketball players. There have been many memorable made-up hoops stars to star on our television sets or the big screen. That said, we’ve given it go.Here’s our team: 15 players (*denotes starter), one head coach and three assistant coaches.
Swingman: Jimmy Chitwood (‘Hoosiers’)*
Perhaps the best pure shooter on this team. The quiet Chitwood (Maris Valainis) likes to do his talking on the court as was the case with Hickory High. When we need a bucket in the clutch or defensive stop, Jimmy is our man. As we’ll see, this squad is filled with plenty of swollen egos and attitudes, so having a soft-spoken, yet confident performer, who knows how to win big games is rather refreshing.
Swingman: Scott Howard/Teen Wolf (‘Teen Wolf’)*
Now, Scott (Michael J. Fox) in human form was nothing more a than undersized, mediocre high school basketball player for the Beacontown Beavers. But, after transforming into his alter ego “Teen Wolf,” there might not be a more dominant player on this team. He’s a terrific ball-handler, vicious defender and can easily play about the rim. If we’re also holding a dunk contest, “Teen Wolf” would be the heavy favorite.
Center: Neon Boudeaux (‘Blue Chips’)*
At 7-foot-1 and well over 300 pounds, Neon Boudeaux is a specimen. Of dominance on the basketball court, that is. Sure, he’s raw, but he also has the ability to intimidate opponents the second he walks into the gym. Neon (Shaquille O’Neal) did not spend much time playing at Western University, so there still might be some teaching to be done — especially at the defensive end of the floor. Still, it doesn’t bet much better than this.
Shooting Guard: Lewis Scott (‘Celtic Pride’)*
There’s no denying the fact that the Utah Jazz guard is one of the best in business. Unfortunately, Scott (Damon Wayans) knows how good he is at draining jumpers and drawing attention to himself. Now, though Lewis can be a public relations pain, we don’t want to see him get harmed or kidnapped by some crazy Boston Celtics fans. Consider yourself warned.
Guard: Butch McRae (‘Blue Chips’)*
At 6-foot-7, McRae (Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway) can play anywhere on the floor. However, he’s our starting point guard. Not many ran the floor better than the Chicago native who shined during his short time at Western University. But, Butch is more than just fancy handles. He can shoot, play well above the rim and is a strong on-ball defender. Which all makes him a serious overall threat.
Forward: Warren Coolidge (‘The White Shadow’)
The big man and star of the Carver HIgh School basketball team during the late 1970s. Coolidge (Byron Stewart) can be a major presence off the bench for this team, which is light on frontcourt depth. One of the better rebounders around, “Cool” is at his best with his back against the basket, but his moves are strong enough to work the baseline for a tough bucket.
Forward: Jackie Moon (‘Semi-Pro’)
There are 15 players on our roster, and Jackie Moon (Will Ferrell) will likely be the last man off the bench. You know, the guy who earns that huge cheer from the crowd when he gets garbage minutes at the end of a blowout. That said, the outgoing, fan-favorite Jackie is a face of the franchise when it comes to community events and in-game entertainment. Even if that means wrestling a bear at halftime.
Swingman: Buddy/Old Blue (‘Air Bud’)
Not only can Buddy serve as a go-to sub, but he will also double as the team mascot if needed. We see Bud serving as a role player, a defensive specialist to pressure the ball when down on the scoreboard. Of course, there might not be a better transition option than Buddy. Plus we know he can drive to hoop and will be one of the best passers on the team.
Swingman: Jesus Shuttlesworth (‘He Got Game’)
We know there was a lot of pressure on prep star Jesus (former college and NBA star Ray Allen) from his old man to parlay a successful collegiate hoops career into an early prison release for said father, Jake (Denzel Washington). In terms of the game, Jesus is one of the team’s best player and would probably start on any other team, and likely will at some point for this group. But, he will certainly add to our overall depth for the moment.
Guard: Julie Connor (‘Hang Time’)
The first of two females on our squad. Julie Connor (Daniella Deutscher) is a solid shooter and might be one of the better defensive players on this roster. Just like she was as a member of the Deering High Tornadoes. She can also be a spot-starter if needed and she will probably out-work and out-hustle most everybody else on the team. Remember that time she teamed-up with the late Kobe Bryant?
Guard: Sidney Deane (‘White Man Can’t Jump’)
If we’re looking for flash and glitz, Sidney (Wesley Snipes) is our man. When it comes to a one-on-one matchup, breaking down a defender, Sidney is at his best. And, we know the trash talk with linger for days. That’s all value to the team. Of course, there’s a chance Sidney’s penchant for gambling and hustling could bring some controversy to the team that might be ripe for an in-season scandal.
Guard: Billy Hoyle (‘White Man Can’t Jump’)
A former friend of Sidney, the two could have some issues within the dynamic of the team. That said. Billy is likely to produce instant offense coming off the bench. Especially from distance, considering Hoyle (Woody Harrelson) is one of the best 3-point shooters on the club. Billy also might take heat from his teammates for the way he wears his uniform, and we’re not sure he or Sidney will be allowed to wear a hat on the floor.
Guard: Matthew Lockhart (‘Heaven is a Playground’)
Matthew (Loyola Marymount star Bo Kimble) was a great high school player, but an injury at the hands of rising college star and prep rival Truth Harrison soared him on the game. He eventually walked away from basketball, even though UCLA showed interest in him. Matthew, though, came back to the game and could serve as a solid sixth-man on our squad, especially when Lewis Scott starts trouble for the coaching staff.
Guard: Quincy McCall (‘Love and Basketball’)
If we’re looking for a veteran presence on this squad, look no further than Quincy (Omar Epps). He starred at USC and enjoyed a decent pro career, most notably with the Los Angeles Lakers. That type of experience, and his abilities to handle all the rigors of life on and off the court, can prove quite valuable to this squad. Especially when it comes to being a mentor of sorts to the young, less mature players on our squad.
Guard: Kyle Lee Watson (‘Above the Rim’)
We talked about personalities and attitudes on our team. Watson (Duane Martin) is certainly one in the same. He’s brash, cocky and can be a bit volatile. Though, as we saw late in his high school career, Watson matured some and earned a scholarship to Georgetown. He’s endured a rather tough life, but he certainly brings talent and value to this club as a potential star of our second unit.
Guard: Monica Wright (‘Love and Basketball’)
It’s interesting to note that we have a husband-and-wife team among this group. Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy McCall one talented couple and we’d love to see them running the floor together. Like her husband, Monica brings tons of experience to our team having starred at Crenshaw High, played in college, overseas and during the early days of the WNBA. We’d also like to think she’d be a good role model for somebody like Julie Connor.
Head Coach: Norman Dale (‘Hoosiers’)
This team is full of talent and personalities — good or bad. We need a coach that can reign all of that in and get them to play as one cohesive unit, like he did on the prep level with tiny Hickory High School. Norman Dale (Gene Hackman) is just the right man for job. He won’t take any lip from his players. He’s rough, but fair, and everything he does, there a reason for the move. Plus, at the of the day, he will do anything for his players as long as the respect is mutual.
Assistant Coach: Pete Bell (‘Blue Chips’)
Bell (Nick Nolte) won two national titles and get used to winning during his years guiding Western University. The only concern with Coach Bell is that he has a temper, though some of it can be for show. That said, he knows the game and is a quality Xs and Os instructor. Though he endured a recruiting controversy at the end of his career, this seems like a good way for him to get back as a teacher of the game.
Assistant Coach: Ken Reeves (‘The White Shadow’)
A former NBA player with the Chicago Bulls, Reeves (Ken Howard) made a decent living in his second career as a high-school hoops coach. Reeves’ Carver High teams were highly competitive among others in the Los Angeles area. In addition to being a solid game coach, Howard will always been there for his players on and off court. In many ways, he’s a father figure that’s often needed by those on the roster.
Assistant coach: Bobby Finstock (‘Teen Wolf’)
Full disclosure: The bench boss of the Beacontown Beavers is not very good at his job. However, Finstock (Jay Tarses) can be valuable when any player needs some advice about personal, off-the-court issues. He’s willing to lend an ear or offer some fried chicken to soothe the soul. Plus, when things get rough, he’s capable of lightening the mood and taking some pressure off the team.Internet Explorer Channel Network