The Los Angeles Lakers have started the 2019-20 NBA season better than anybody could have expected with a 24-4 record and showing minimal signs of weaknesses.
And while the play of LeBron James and Anthony Davis deserve a ton of credit, it’s general manager Rob Pelinka’s team-building and head coach Frank Vogel’s coaching that have helped to maximize the talent on the roster.
The way Vogel was hired certainly didn’t inspire much confidence as the Lakers were prepared to give current Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach Tyronn Lue a contract well before Vogel was even an option. But ever since his hiring, Vogel has shown he might be an even better head coach than the one the NBA world saw with Paul George‘s Indiana Pacers.
Pelinka recognized this, saying that what he appreciates about Vogel is his willingness to collaborate with others, but also his ability to be a decisive decision-maker when the time comes, according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated:
“There’s a great attention to detail [with Vogel],” Lakers GM Rob Pelinka told SI.com in the preseason. “And I also quickly learned that he’s a collaborative thinker, but then a decisive decision-maker. I think sometimes collaborators can overthink things too much and then not be able to make a decision, but he takes input and then he’s decisive with his decision. And I think we wanted to have a more structured, accountable philosophy with the basketball here, and he fit that.”
Despite some imperfections, Vogel has done an incredible job building a structure around this team. Everyone on the roster — from James to Quinn Cook — seems to know their role and be extremely happy to be in it. Vogel has the Lakers happy to play together.
Dwight Howard, specifically, had never once shown an ability to accept being a role player. However, in just a few months with Vogel, he is thriving as one of the best role players on the team and on some nights, genuinely looks like the team’s third-best player.
Another impressive thing Vogel has done is the awareness he has to ride the hot hand rather than stick with pre-determined rotations. It’s something former head coach Luke Walton never quite got the hang of and it’s something that’s allowed the Lakers to really shine.
Unlike what sometimes happens with players who might regress to the mean with their on-court play, head coaches often know how to keep their consistency and that’s something that will be extremely important and exciting for the Lakers this season and for seasons to come.