Frank Vogel was not the Los Angeles Lakers top choice for their head coaching position. However, his first season with the team proved that he was absolutely the right choice.
While Vogel had plenty of help from his superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, as well as his veterans Jared Dudley and Rajon Rondo, he was the perfect person to lead the Lakers. His coaching helped lead to the team’s first championship in 10 years and 17th overall.
While there were plenty of challenges along the way, Vogel remained calm and collected, becoming the antithesis of the drama that plagued the team in the years prior to his arrival. Dudley, for one, recognized what separates Vogel from other coaches.
He praised Vogel for his willingness to listen to player input, something that is far from typical among head coaches. “Not typical at all. A lot of coaches are very prideful, do it their way, analytics, doing this. You saw it with the Rays and the pitching against the Dodgers; this is it, this is how we’re going to do it,” Dudley said in an exclusive interview with LakersNation.com.
“But I don’t think it’s typical of coaching a guy like LeBron James. Not only is he a superstar and the best player on the planet, he’s the smartest. He’s not going to give a suggestion that’s going to hurt the team, because he’s seen it all. Frank comes up with a game plan, tells you why, gives you the reasons why it’s going to work, and we follow that.
“Now, on certain coverages and players, he leans on us. It’s not 100% that we go with that. He’ll say, ‘Let’s try my way first and if it doesn’t work, the second or third possession we’ll go with you.’ He loves players’ input. He doesn’t want film sessions to be quiet, he wants people involved because he wants us all on the same page. He knows if we’re all on the same page, we’re going to do 100%. If we’re iffy, guys aren’t going to really adapt or go hard for it. It’s very rare.
“This coaching staff was rare. Frank Vogel had the perfect temperature of the team and he is a huge reason why we won. The adjustments he made, the starting lineup changes, Alex Caruso doesn’t start any game except for Game 6, putting Markieff in the second half, starting Dwight Howard. It was phenomenal. You could just tell he had a lot of guts.”
This is high praise for a coach who has struggled to find a consistent home in the NBA since the early 2010’s. After a successful stint with the Indiana Pacers, he spent several years unemployed and struggled mightily with a poor Orlando Magic roster.
Vogel: Lakers feel very good about 2020-21 season
Due to the complete uprooting of the normal NBA schedule due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Lakers will have one of the shortest offseasons in sports history.
Despite that, Vogel is very confident about the Lakers’ trajectory in the face of various challenges.
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