One of the key themes throughout the 2019-20 season for the Los Angeles Lakers was their commitment to working together. The players’ chemistry was well-documented, but the front office and ownership worked together in lock-step on every decision.
In that regard, it made sense why they chose to hire Frank Vogel as the head coach. He arrived with a reputation as an effective communicator and willing collaborator. Vogel’s team-first approach won over the locker room and it ultimately culminated in the 2020 NBA championship.
While it is easy to look at things in hindsight, the perception around the time of Vogel’s hiring was that the organization was dysfunctional. After all, Magic Johnson had just stepped down from his role as president of basketball operations and went on ESPN’s “First Take” to blast Rob Pelinka.
However, Vogel quickly dispelled the notion that L.A. was in a state of chaos and spoke highly or the franchise and namely his relationship with Pelinka. “Everyone always wants to talk about collaboration but are not always willing to exhibit that type of collaboration,” Vogel said.
“That’s what struck me first is that I was very, very involved in every personnel decision. Really every, like, organizational decision that was made from the time I was hired. And it really has been a wonderful partnership between Rob and myself.
“Obviously extending to Jeanie and Kurt Rambis and Tim Harris and then to our players, starting with our captains but all of our guys. We set out to achieve for organizational togetherness, and I think Rob’s relationship with me from the start set a great tone for that.”
This type of teamwork from the front office on down is part of the reason why the Lakers were so successful and bodes well for their future going forward.
Anthony Davis admitted prior to the start of the season that he was happy to be included in the roster’s construction, serving as an example that full collaboration produces desired results.
Rob Pelinka speaks about building team around LeBron James
The Lakers’ roster needed viable pieces to surround LeBron James, and Pelinka delivered after trading for Davis and signing several other veterans to complement the pairing.
“I think the chance to build a team around one of the greatest players and leaders to ever play doesn’t come along that often,” Pelinka explained. “So when he committed to us, it was a mutual trust.
“He showed trust in Jeanie and our front office to build a championship team, and once he put that trust in us, we had to deliver. There was no other option. And to be able to do that for him and for Anthony Davis as our captains is special.”
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