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It has been less than 18 months since Frank Vogel won his first championship as an NBA head coach. He led the Los Angeles Lakers through one of the most tumultuous seasons in their history, deftly crafting a defensive juggernaut around LeBron James and Anthony Davis while overcoming both the death of Kobe Bryant and the conditions of the widely unpopular Orlando bubble during the COVID-19 pandemic. At that point, he looked like one of the very best coaches in all of basketball.

Oh, how things have changed. Blaming Vogel for everything that has gone wrong for the Lakers would be grossly unfair, but as they march towards an early ending for this disastrous season, he is primed to serve as the fall-guy. Rumors about his job security have swirled for months, and according to The Athletic's Sam Amick and Bill Oram, he likely needs "a stunning playoff run" in order to maintain his job. CBS Sports' Bill Reiter confirmed that report.

Such a run seems overwhelmingly unlikely. The Lakers, right now, are just trying to hold off the New Orleans Pelicans for the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference. Assuming they don't jump up to No. 8—unlikely as they trail the Clippers by 4.5 games—they will not only have to win two games just to reach the postseason, but they'd have to face the top-seeded Phoenix Suns in the first round once they get there. Unless Chris Paul's injury is more severe than it currently looks, the Lakers would be significant underdogs in that matchup. 

Should they lose in that series or before, Vogel would likely be out of a job, ending one of the more bizarre coaching tenures in recent NBA memory. Vogel was hired only after the Lakers missed on Monty Williams and Ty Lue. He made the most of his opportunity and literally won a championship, but the front office's skepticism in his merits never seems to have wavered. 

He is now being positioned to take the blame for their failures in putting a suitable roster on the floor for him. Vogel hasn't done a perfect job this season, but aside from Lue in Cleveland, no championship-winning coach has been fired by the team they led to the promised land this century. Dumping Vogel would be a drastic step, but with few other avenues toward improvement, it's one the Lakers have little choice but to make when this season comes to an end.