It has been a drama-filled start to the 2019 NBA offseason for the Los Angeles Lakers, but head coach Frank Vogel is focused on leading LeBron James and the young core back to championship contention.
After a month-long coaching search, the Lakers eventually hired Vogel. While the 45-year-old was obviously not their first choice, he is extremely optimistic about the new opportunity after taking the 2018-19 NBA season off.
Heading into his first season, Vogel needs to create a system that best utilizes James and the young core. While there were moments where they played well together in Year 1, injuries and Anthony Davis trade rumors completely derailed any chance to build chemistry on the court.
As Vogel enjoys studying the roster, he shared his first impressions of James, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and Josh Hart, via Lakers:
“I really enjoy the process of studying the roster and formulating a plan.”
Frank Vogel shares his first impressions of the young core and LeBron James. pic.twitter.com/ZmaO7k86z8
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) May 24, 2019
From a distance, Vogel’s assessment of James and the young core are accurate. At this stage of James’ career, Vogel notices his ‘wisdom on the basketball court’ and expects a bounce-back Year 2 after missing 27 games.
While everyone knows about James’ ability on the court when healthy, Vogel had some really encouraging words about Ingram, Ball, Kuzma, and Hart.
Highlighted by Ingram’s length and athleticism, Vogel is impressed by his youth and is looking forward to teaching him winning habits.
As for Ball, Vogel calls him ‘one of the most unique players I’ve ever studied’ and wants the Lakers to play with his unselfishness on offense.
Vogel also praised Kuzma’s polished offensive game in just his second season and Hart’s ability to ‘dribble, pass, shoot, and guard.’
If the Lakers ultimately do not trade the young core, it will be interesting to see how Vogel helps develop them in their third and fourth seasons. In order to maximize James’ ability as a passer, he does need shooters and the hope is they can all improve in that area for the 2019-20 NBA season.
At this stage of their young careers, the Lakers will get a better idea if Ingram, Ball, and Kuzma can truly reach their All-Star potential. If any of them can, the Lakers should be able to end their six-year playoff drought and can set themselves up for sustained success.