It has been an eventful first year for Frank Vogel as Los Angeles Lakers head coach, but he has gotten them back to the NBA Finals after a dominating playoff run.
The Lakers went 12-3 in the Western Conference playoffs, winning each series in five games. LeBron James and Anthony Davis have played up their superstar level, but Vogel has been excellent with his in-series adjustments and defensive schemes.
There was an open question prior to the 2019-20 season if Vogel would be able to lead Los Angeles back into championship contention, but so far he has quelled those concerns and has them only four wins away from that goal. Having a players of James and Davis’ caliber helps, but Vogel has absolutely earned credit as well.
“He’s done a great job with all of us,” Davis said. “He shoots it straight to us, he wants to win, we want to win. He comes to me and ‘Bron with a lot of questions and ideas, and we give him our opinion on certain things, but we trust him.
“He comes in and puts the game plan together. He spends hours and hours of watching film and breaking down games and breaking schemes down to try to figure out what’s the best solution for us, what’s the best recipe for us to be successful, and he puts the right players on the floor at the right time. He trusts us, if someone has it going and he wants to sub a guy in, a guy tells him, like let that unit roll or let that guy keep rolling.
“He trusts us, and that’s the only thing you can ask for in a coach is to trust your players, but at the same time we have to trust him. He’s been doing a great job of managing emotions, especially when everyone’s trying to win. You want to be a part of it on the floor and I think guys have got nothing but respect for his coaching decisions on who is going to play, who is going to sit, who is coming in the game at one point.
“Because we know his intentions are good and his intentions are try to win, just like ours. He’s done a helluva job along with the coaching staff of making sure that we are in the position that we are now.”
The accountability throughout the roster is unique in that the players are comfortable calling one another out when needed, but that type of culture starts with the head coach.
Vogel has everyone operating on the same page and that is largely why the purple and gold find themselves back on the big stage.
LeBron calls Frank Vogel Lakers’ “anchor”
For any head coach to be successful, they need to have buy-in from their best players and that is exactly what Vogel got from James.
The two faced off against each other in the Eastern Conference years ago, but now are on the same side. With Vogel at the helm, James will be making his 10th Finals appearance but credited the coach for everything he has done for the team.
“He’s been great,” James said. “He’s been unbelievable. It’s been a crazy obstacle course for our franchise this whole year. I’m not going to sit here and give all the details, but you guys, everyone can go back and just see from the start of the season all the way up until now what we’ve gone through as a team. He’s been able to manage it the whole time.
“Bringing in guys, losing guys. He’s just always been the anchor, and our coaching staff has been right behind him. I can’t say anything more than that. Just happy to be on the floor to kind of be his coach on the floor and just command to my teammates the same message that he’s given to me and be an extension of his mind. It’s been great.”
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