Frank Vogel has faced quite a bit of scrutiny amid Lakers struggles earlier in the season, but Charles Barkley doesn’t think he deserves it.
The Hall of Famer took time to address criticism of Vogel and speculation about his job security ahead of the Lakers-Celtics game Tuesday night. Barkley endorsed the coach during “Inside the NBA” on TNT and tore those looking for a scapegoat in Los Angeles’ 12-12 season opener.
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“During the first month of the season, everyone blamed Russell Westbrook for the Lakers putting all these old men together,” Barkley said. “Heard Frank Vogel was getting fired. Listen, Russ is learning, Frank Vogel is a fantastic coach. Put all those old idiots together and just try to blame other people, it’s not cool and it’s not cool.”
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That said, Barkley was willing to throw some blame despite his defense of Vogel and the other veterans the Lakers signed to shore up his depth. Who did Barkley target?
“In my opinion, I blame Anthony Davis,” he said. “Anthony Davis, you know I like you as a person, but you are not doing what you are supposed to do. You are 27 years old. You are supposed to be in your prime. You are supposed to be one of the five best players in the world. Up there in Giannis, Kevin Durant, all those guys and you are not keeping your end of the deal. “
“Anthony Davis, you know I like you as a person, but you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do.”
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Davis’ numbers are solid at a glance. He is averaging 24.1 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.2 blocks and 1.3 steals per game for the Lakers this season. It is his first season since arriving in Los Angeles in which he has averaged a double-double. He’s also shooting 52.4 percent from the floor, which is good for the third-best mark of his career and the best since the 2017-18 NBA season.
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However, Davis’ net rating of -3.2 ranks 196 out of 290 NBA players who average at least 15 minutes per game. Only three Lakers players have worse net scores: DeAndre Jordan (minus-7.5), Kent Bazemore (minus-8) and Avery Bradley (minus-9.9).
So Davis’s impact hasn’t been as strong as in past seasons. That’s why Barkley is asking you to step up and help the Lakers reach their limit.
“Listen, Anthony Davis, you have to play better,” Barkley said. “I said on this first night, if the Lakers were going to be good, it would all depend on you. It has nothing to do with Russell, it has nothing to do with LeBron and the rest of the old folks. the line because I really like Frank Vogel. It’s not his fault. “
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The Lakers took a step in the right direction by beating the Celtics 117-102 on Tuesday night to improve to 13-12. Davis had a strong start, scoring 17 points, 16 rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals in the rival game.
Still, a solid game won’t take Barkley off his back, especially as Barkley seems hell-bent on defending Vogel as the criticism continues to pour in.
“Now I heard the coach was going to be fired? That’s total nonsense, man,” Barkley said at the end of his spiel. “Now I feel better.”