Frank Vogel has had the opportunity to coach some pretty great players on some pretty great teams in the past, including Paul Pierce on the Boston Celtics, Allen Iverson on the Philadelphia 76ers and Paul George on the Indiana Pacers. This season with the Los Angeles Lakers, Vogel will coach LeBron James and Anthony Davis, arguably his two biggest stars to date.
During a recent interview with Bill Oram of The Athletic, Vogel talked about the road that led him to the Lakers, and his excitement to coach James:
“I’ve had a sort of coincidental life,” he said. “Who would have thought that a Division III player would get in with the University of Kentucky and end up in the NBA and then, once you end up there, end up as a head coach?
“To be able to have the success that I’ve had and now work for the coolest organization in the entire NBA with a guy like LeBron James is a little surreal. But I always try to stay in the moment of my life and just concentrate on, ‘Hey you’ve got a job to do here and let’s make sure we … do the job at the highest level.”
Vogel’s right: At the end of the day, coaching is still a job, especially in Los Angeles where stakes are high and the margin for error is low.
In his first season with the Lakers, Vogel will be expected to end the team’s six-season playoff drought, earn the trust of LeBron James and appease Anthony Davis, who can walk as a free agent next summer if things go awry. No pressure.
However, Vogel also understands how rare it is to for a coach to be put in a winning situation with two of the most dominant players in the NBA:
“This really is the opportunity of a lifetime for me,” Vogel said, “and I hope I make the best of it.”
That’s not to say the road ahead for Vogel will be easy — it won’t be. But with James and Davis at his disposal, he and the Lakers will at least have a chance.