Ex-Lakers Vindicated: Thriving Beyond Blame

Patrick Beverley shines in Philadelphia, boosts 76ers' defense.

by Nouman Rasool
Ex-Lakers Vindicated: Thriving Beyond Blame
© Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

In a recent turn of events, the Los Angeles Lakers managed to secure a victory against the Boston Celtics last Thursday. However, the win barely scratches the surface of the deeper issues plaguing the team. Currently positioned ninth in the Western Conference and hovering at a .500 record, the Lakers' performance has been less than stellar, a fact that hasn't gone unnoticed by LeBron James, who appears increasingly frustrated with the team's trajectory.

Amidst swirling rumors, a potential rift between coach Darvin Ham and the players has been a topic of much speculation in recent times. The narrative around the Lakers' struggles has often pointed fingers at former players like Patrick Beverley and Russell Westbrook, who were once scapegoated for the team's regular-season woes.

However, their departure and subsequent success elsewhere suggest that the blame may have been misdirected. During a candid discussion on "The Pat Bev Podcast," Beverley reflected on the blame game, highlighting his and Westbrook's current standing with two of the league's top teams.

"When I left, they blamed me," Beverley stated. "They blamed Russ. We're on some of the best teams in the NBA."

Beverley's Defensive Mastery

Beverley's tenure with the Philadelphia 76ers has been marked by impressive defensive prowess, ranking him in the 88th percentile for defensive estimated plus-minus (EPM) — a metric evaluating a player's impact based on box score data and on-court versus off-court influence.

The Sixers currently sit comfortably at fifth in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, Westbrook has reinvented his role with the L.A. Clippers, embracing a bench position to complement James Harden's talents, contributing significantly to one of the league's most formidable squads.

With Beverley and Westbrook flourishing in their new environments, the spotlight turns back to the Lakers, prompting a much-needed introspective examination. The team's inclination to attribute its struggles to specific individuals or the coaching staff misses the broader issues at hand.

As the Lakers grapple with these challenges, General Manager Rob Pelinka faces mounting pressure to conjure trade deadline miracles, risking valuable draft assets for short-term gains. Meanwhile, LeBron James's frustration is palpable as the team struggles to foster a winning culture.

For the Lakers, the path forward demands frank discussions and decisive actions, aligning the front office's vision with a coherent strategy. The team's predicament stems from a disjointed approach; rectifying it requires a methodical and unified effort to navigate out of the current turmoil.

Lakers Patrick Beverley