Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James has defended coach Frank Vogel after an inconsistent start to the NBA season.
The Lakers, one of the pre-season favourites for the championship, are 12-12 after Friday's defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers and sit seventh in the Western Conference.
With a roster that boasts talent such as James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo, more was expected from the 2020 champions, with coach Vogel coming in for recent criticism.
"I think criticism comes with the job, you know?" James said after practice on Monday. "Frank is a strong-minded guy. He has a great coaching staff. And we as his players have to do a better job of going out and producing on the floor.
"We're a team and an organization that don't mind some adversity, that don't mind people saying things about us, obviously, because it comes with the territory."
Vogel has an overall record of 106-61 (.635) with the Lakers, the sixth-best winning percentage of any coach in their history with at least 100 games.
All in a day's work pic.twitter.com/FIXzYBRAz1— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 6, 2021
James was back in the Lakers line-up for the Clippers game after returning two negative COVID-19 tests, posting 23 points and 11 rebounds in the 119-115 loss.
The 36-year-old entered the NBA's health and safety protocols last week, sitting out the 117-92 win over the Sacramento Kings due to a positive coronavirus test, but cleared the league's COVID protocols after additional testing confirmed the four-time champion and MVP was not a positive case.
"We have a lot of guys on this team that have been bulletin-board material for quite a long time, so it don't quite bother us," James added. "Everything that we do stays in house when it comes to our preparation and how we prepare for our next opponent and how we prepare to get better.
"Frank doesn't care and we don't either about what people are saying."