On May 11 during my afternoon nap, I woke up to the news that the Los Angeles Lakers hired Frank Vogel. Most recently of the 2017–2018 (25-57) Orlando Magic.
Now, my initial thoughts were: confusion, some anger, and honestly some relief that the franchise had finally decided on a new head coach and we can now move on to the next chapter of this book.
The NBA Draft, free agency, and the reconstruction of the current roster. When the Lakers first fired Luke Walton at the conclusion of the season, Vogel’s name wasn’t really anywhere near the conversation when it came to who the Lakers next head coach would be. Tyronn Lue, Jason Kidd, Juwan Howard, and Monty Williams were some of the main names floated around.
We all know what happened with the Tyronn Lue talks. The Lakers offered Lue only a 3-year deal (which insulted Tyronn Lue) and tried to force Jason Kidd and Kurt Rambis onto the bench to serve as assistants to Lue if he would accept the position. With the Lakers clearly viewing Lue as only a “LeBron coach” (Tyronn Lue and LBJ’s contract would have ended at the same time) and trying to manipulate him and pick his coaching staff for him, Lue kindly walked away from the Lakers. And the Lakers closed the door behind him.
Thus, bringing us to this: The Lakers hiring Frank Vogel and bringing on Jason Kidd to serve as his lead assistant on the bench.
Frank Vogel and Jason Kidd may not be anyone’s first choice, or second, or even the third for that matter, but we shouldn’t ignore the success they’ve had when given talented players to work with.
Frank Vogel during his time as head coach in Indiana seen steady improvement and consistency when it came to defending. His first three seasons in Indiana is pretty impressive.
Vogel by the Numbers
Frank Vogel: 2011-12 42-24 PPG: 13th of 30. Opp PTS/G: 10th of 30th
Offensive rating: 7th of 30. Defensive rating: 9th of 30.
Frank Vogel: 2012-13: 49-32: PPG: 23rd of 30. Opp PTS/G: 2nd of 30.
Offensive rating: 20th of 30. Defensive rating: 1st in the NBA
Frank Vogel 2013-14: 56-26 PPG: 24th of 30. Opp PTS/G: 2nd of 30.
Offensive rating: 23rd of 30. Defensive rating: 1st in the NBA
Now, I only did the first three seasons due to Vogel signing a three-year deal with the Lakers, but you can clearly see the improvement Vogel had with the Indiana Pacers, who were led by a dominate wing player in Paul George.
The Lakers have LeBron James, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and Kyle Kuzma (when he feels like it) on the wing defending the opposing matchup. If Vogel has shown one specialty, its defense.
With the length, youth, willingness, mixed in with an experienced defender in LBJ, Frank Vogel might be able to hide some of his offensive deficiencies if he can get this group to buy in to his defensive schemes.
Jason Kidd was let go by the Milwaukee Bucks on Jan. 22, 2018, after a 23-22 start. However, in the three previous seasons beforehand, he got his team into the Playoffs two-out-of-three seasons. He led the Bucks to a 41-41 record during the 2014-15 NBA season, and to a 42-40 record during the 2016-2017 NBA season.
With the Lakers coaching search finally over, and with us finally being able to dig deeper into who will be coaching the team moving forward, we shouldn’t be so quick to write Vogel and Kidd off so quick.
I know they weren’t our (the fans) first choice, or even Jeanie and Rob’s first choice. But they hired them, and we must give them a fair shot at the job before drawing our own negative conclusions as to what may happen.
You look at the playoff history and defensive mind Frank Vogel has, the PG knowledge Jason Kidd has to pass down to LeBron and Lonzo Ball, the new found motivation the team will have from this disappointing season, and you might be able to start to feel little more optimistic about Frank Vogel and the Los Angeles Lakers.
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