The Los Angeles Lakers survived a close Play-In Tournament game against the Golden State Warriors but now must prepare for a first-round series against a potent Phoenix Suns team.
The Suns were the most-improved team in the NBA during the 2020-21 season and while most of that can be attributed to their addition of Chris Paul, head coach Monty Williams also deserves credit. Williams’ brand of up-tempo and high-effort basketball was the perfect match for Phoenix and he led them to the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel had high praise for Williams, going so far as to call him the best coach during the regular season.
“Obviously we’re playing against the Coach of the Year,” Vogel said. “Monty’s done a phenomenal job against this group taking them from where they were two years ago to what they did in the bubble last year and where they’re at now. It’s really remarkable.”
As far as how he prepares to play opposing coaches, Vogel discussed what goes into that leading up to a series. “So every coach has a certain style of play and things you may see, whether it’s timeout plays or defensive schemes or things they like to run offensively,” explained Vogel.
“So I think that just falls in the bucket of what their team’s personality is and what their offensive system and defensive schemes look like. That’s what in terms of dialing into what the coach’s style is, those are the things that show up.”
Williams is well-respected around the league and it is more than deserved given how he has turned the Suns around. Vogel will definitely have his hands full when trying to prepare for Williams and his young Phoenix roster.
Anthony Davis called for the Lakers to come out with more urgency against the Suns, and it will be interesting to see how they look when Game 1 tips off on Sunday afternoon.
Vogel deserves consideration for Coach of the Year
Although he will likely not garner many votes because of the Lakers’ subpar record, Vogel deserves recognition for keeping the team afloat in the midst of a rash of injuries.
Vogel was without LeBron James and Davis for a large stretch of the season yet still led Los Angeles to the best defense in the league. That alone deserves praise, but he has also managed to adapt to ever-changing lineups and pulled out some quality wins without his stars.
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