When Frank Vogel and the Los Angeles Lakers hoisted the Larry O’Brien trophy at the end of a difficult season, it not only validated some extremely hard work exhibited by the team, but it also served as a distraction for fans who continued to deal with hardships on a daily basis.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the death of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, and protests for racial injustice in the United States made 2020 an ongoing battle. However, the Lakers managing to fight through all of it to win the NBA championship became an inspirational story.
Vogel — while looking back on last season and year as a whole — called it all “bittersweet” as he achieved professional success while so many difficult things were happening off the court to the entire world.
“I think my personal reflection on it is obviously that it’s one of the worst years ever but also one that for me, from a professional standpoint, probably my best basketball year ever,” Vogel said.
“So it’s a little bittersweet in that regard. So many people have lost loved ones and their way of life. It’s been very tragic from that standpoint, so it is a little bit bittersweet. But definitely would consider it the best basketball year of my career. It’s bittersweet.”
Vogel and the Lakers felt loss firsthand all the way back in January when Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant tragically passed away. But as the pandemic continues to ravage through the nation, Vogel knew that people have been through so much worse.
And while winning an NBA championship sounds like a silly consolation prize on the surface, there’s no doubting the impact that it had on the city of L.A. This is especially true when combined with the L.A. Dodgers winning their first World Series since 1988.
Vogel expecting Lakers defense to be similarly effective to 2019-20 team
One of the defining factors of the Lakers’ championship team was their suffocating defense. They blocked shots, got into passing lanes and forced plenty of turnovers. And while many are expecting the Lakers defense to take a step back due to roster changes, Vogel remains confident.
“I think we can be every bit as effective, but we probably won’t be as highly ranked in terms of blocks,” he said. “Marc and Trezz are more position defenders, charge takers. I don’t think our defensive efficiency needs to be any less. It just might not show up in that blocks area.”
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