The NBA has named Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel the Western Conference Coach of the Month, the league announced on Monday.
Vogel coached the Lakers to a league-best 17-2 record through the months of October and November, tied for the best nine-game start in franchise history. On the season, the Lakers have a 17-3 record under Vogel, tied with the Milwaukee Bucks for the best in the league.
Vogel is the first Lakers head coach to win Coach of the Month since Mike D’Antoni won the award in April of 2013.
Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse won Coach of the Month for Eastern Conference.
Vogel’s hire in May was met with healthy skepticism after the Lakers failed to reach a deal with their first choice, Tyronn Lue, who coached the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers to a championship in 2016. Vogel had been away from the NBA sidelines for a year before agreeing to become the Lakers’ third head coach in five years, and — prior to getting the Lakers job — he was most recently fired by the Orlando Magic in April of 2018 after two seasons.
The hope was that Vogel would rediscover the success he had with the defensively dominant Indiana Pacers teams that he coached from 2011-2016, and so far he’s been able to do just that. The Lakers are ranked fifth in defensive rating this season, the highest they’ve been ranked since the 2009-10 season — the season they beat the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. The Lakers are also ranked sixth in offensive rating, which is impressive considering Vogel has said the team is still in the rudimentary stages of implementing their offensive scheme.
Sure, having two of the 10 most talented players in the league has helped Vogel looked good in his return to the NBA sidelines, but he and his coaching staff also earned a heap of praise from his players for the way they prepare for games and teach. LeBron certainly seemed excited to see his coach recognized:
Vogel might not have been the Lakers’ first choice, but through the first quarter of the season, he’s looked like the right one.