Frank Vogel was unable to coach the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night after entering the NBA’s health and safety protocols. In his place, David Fizdale was named the temporary head coach, tasked with figuring out a way to cobble together a rotation with eight Lakers out of the lineup.
The Lakers managed to play a solid game from start to finish, but couldn’t close things out. The Chicago Bulls won 115-110 behind an incredible performance from DeMar DeRozan.
After the game, Fizdale and all of the available Lakers showed pride in the hustle they played with, something that has been missing from some of their recent games. But before the game, it was Vogel that received the biggest praise from Fizdale.
“It was seamless. We have a way of doing things,” Fizdale said of his transition to acting head coach. “Frank is so incredible at preparation. He lays it out in a way that it’s a next-man-up situation. Our assistants had to do it for Phil Handy and I in Dallas. We just have a real solid way of preparing because of Frank. So it’s just really a next-man-up mentality.”
He continued with complimenting Vogel. “A testament to Frank, and I think you guys see it, Frank is even. He doesn’t waver with the turbulence and news. That’s just ripples on the surface to him. He just keeps forging ahead to what we have to do that day to get ready to win. It’s really been fun to be a part of it with him and so good news, bad news we don’t get into the judgment of what kind of news it is, we just handle it for what it is.”
After the game, he once again turned to Vogel to credit him for the in-game adjustments, revealing the two shared so texts during halftime and after the game.
“You didn’t see the earbuds I had on during the game? I’m just kidding, Commish, I did not have on earbuds. No, it was via text.
“He just texted me during halftime and gave me some bullet points. That would be the same thing we would do at our normal halftime, we would come in and collectively put our minds together on what we need to clean up and what we need to keep doing well and he sent me some great ideas that really helped us. And then obviously postgame, he was tremendously supportive and proud of his staff.”
Vogel has been under fire for much of the season, especially with some ugly performances sprinkled throughout the team’s first 31 games. However, from the inside, it appears that everyone from Fizdale to the players has a high level of confidence in Vogel.
This type of praise can go a long way towards ensuring Vogel’s job security. At this point, nearly every major figure in the Lakers organization has addressed the Vogel rumors with some form of the same answer: that he’s not going anywhere any time soon.
Fizdale preparing for “whatever Frank needs”
In the case that Vogel’s absence is the full 10 days of health and safety protocols, Fizdale ensured that — thanks to the Lakers head coach — he’s prepared to stay in charge for the time being.
“I’ll do the job that needs to be done, whatever Frank needs from me I’m gonna do whatever it takes to the fullest. I’m gonna give these guys everything I’ve got and I don’t get too far ahead. That’s one thing I’ve learned over my travels now and my ups and downs is just control what I can in the moment and that’s all I’m gonna do.”
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