Though many believed the Los Angeles Lakers would be one of the best teams in the NBA, very few could have pictured the team getting out to the start they have.
Much of the credit for that undoubtedly has to go to head coach Frank Vogel.
Vogel has come in and revamped the team’s defense and though the offense remains a work in progress, LeBron James has been playing at an MVP-caliber level. There were questions about whether Vogel could handle a team with outspoken personalities such as James and Rajon Rondo, but there have been no issues so far.
Vogel and James have been nothing but complimentary of each other and the team as a whole has bought in to what he is teaching. Rondo recently spoke on this, noting how Vogel’s resume demands respect and that has helped the team buy into his plan, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic:
“The biggest thing is that we’re all bought in. You get the team to that, and that’s over half the battle. …I’m always trying to (absorb) and learn. I always have an open mind, just to figure out people’s different philosophies. You’ve got to give it a try. (Vogel) has been in the league for a long time, and it’s not for (no) reason. What he did with his team in Indiana, what he’s done his whole career (matters). You don’t take that for granted. So I came in with an open mind listening to what he has to say and his philosophies, and I couldn’t agree with him more – 100 percent. What I love most about him is how he teaches in the film room.”
Rondo would go into the specifics of how Vogel teaches during those film sessions:
“He calls guys out. He teaches the right way, with constructive criticism. And like I said, the guys are so receptive. So then you go out on the court, and we go over it, and next thing you know it shows up in the game. It’s the repetition of what he does in that room, and how it translates to the court, which is big. I haven’t seen a group of guys (like this) who gravitate to a coach who’s brand new, with a new system and a lot of first-year guys coming together. We’ve all bought in.”
Maintaining a great relationship with the players is paramount to the success of a head coach. Players want to be coached, but maintaining that line between criticism and disrespect is important. Being unable to criticize the team could lead to them having no respect while going too far or not having legit reasons for the criticisms could lead to the team checking out.
Vogel has been around the NBA for a long time, but has also remained open to evolving and change. His experience has shown through so far with this Lakers team and it is standing out with his players.