New Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel is in for a much different experience than he has dealt with at his previous stops with the Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic.
The Lakers are one of the most viewed and followed franchises in all of sports throughout the world. Anything that happens with them gets blasted to a level that no other NBA franchise can relate to.
That light shining on the franchise gets even brighter after signing LeBron James, the league’s biggest superstar into the mix. The situation brings a lot of pressure to anyone involved, but Vogel is embracing it.
In an interview with Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, Vogel spoke about enjoying the most pressure-filled situation he’s had previously in coaching, leading the Pacers against James and the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals:
“The Lakers have always been on the forefront and anywhere LeBron has been, has been on the forefront,” Vogel said. “The best experience I’ve had is being in the conference finals against LeBron because that’s exactly what it was like then. Every word I said then was blasted all over the world, all over Twitter and SportsCenter.”
Vogel led the Pacers to two consecutive Conference Finals appearances, falling to the Heat in seven games in 2013 and six games in 2014. He has felt some of the biggest pressure one can feel as an NBA head coach and is not only embracing what will come with the Lakers but loves being viewed as one of the favorites for the 2019-20 NBA season because of it:
“That’s going to be the case here with the Lakers. It’s not something that I’ve not been a part of, but it’s just part of this job. You know, I understand it. I don’t think there’s anything negative about it. I love that our team’s going to be talked about and I love that we’re going to be one of the favorites in the league this year after having coached a number of little engine that coulds’, you know? It’s teams that were all the overachieving type. So I like being viewed as one of the favorites.”
As Vogel noted, running the Lakers is much different than his prior experiences as teams like the Pacers and Magic tend to be underdogs while the Lakers — especially this season — are one of the favorites. With James and Anthony Davis, all eyes will be on them and the entire team will have to deal with and embrace that if they plan on being successful.
But what comes with the Lakers is unlike anything else in basketball. Vogel is saying the right things, but only a select few people are capable of handling the pressure of this franchise and he will have to show he is among them.