Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel was not one of the big names many saw taking over the job when it became available after the 2018-19 NBA season.
Though Vogel had some success with the Indiana Pacers, his more recent stop with the Orlando Magic didn’t yield the expected results.
Vogel was fired after just 54 wins in two seasons in Orlando and spent last season away from the game, not on any coaching staff. However, that time away might be the best thing to happen to Vogel as far as he’s concerned.
The Lakers head coach calls that season away his ‘sabbatical’ and recently spoke about how important it was to his growth as a head coach. Speaking with Kyle Goon of Orange County Register, Vogel noted how much more one can learn being away from the game as opposed to still being an active head coach:
Vogel called the extensive tour eye-opening. Every coach tries to add new facets to their program every season, but Vogel estimated that “80 to 90 percent” stays the same, simply because working coaches rarely get to see what other staffs are doing.
This is an interesting idea but does make some sense. Vogel was free to pick the brains of numerous different coaches at both the pro and college levels because he had the time to do so. Meanwhile, an active head coach has to put so much focus on his own team that he can’t always pay attention to everything else that’s happening.
Vogel continued about the number of things he was able to learn during his sabbatical:
“To be able to step away and be a part of these other camps for a few days each time, you get to see a completely different way of doing things,” he said. “Whether it’s drill work, how staff meetings are run, or how the practices are run, how much delegation is going on, the terminology of defensive systems, and your offensive rules for running the break. There’s really an endless list of things you observe when you’re seeing another person’s program that you will never see if you don’t get that opportunity.”
There was a lot of concern about Vogel coming in because of his coaching style in previous stops. He was known as a slow-it-down, defensive head coach and that style doesn’t necessarily fit in today’s NBA.
That time away to observe — both up close and from a distance — seems to have done wonders for Vogel as he prepares to enter his first season.
The Lakers in the 2019 NBA preseason looked like a great combination of the defense Vogel teams are known for, along with a fast-paced, pick-and-roll offense. It all adds up to a promising team with plans on a run towards the 2020 NBA Finals.