A lot has been made about how remarkably little drama there has been surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers this season, but considering offseason expectations about what the dynamic would look like between head coach Frank Vogel and assistant coach Jason Kidd, it’s worth noting over and over again how tension-free this year has been.
Things have been so calm, in fact, that Vogel even felt comfortable admitting that he and Kidd have joked about the expectation that the latter would backstab the former, saying that instead the two have developed “a healthy trust and respect” for one another.
It sounds like Kidd feels similarly about their dynamic, as he told Tania Ganguli of The L.A. Times:
“Frank is a great leader,” Lakers assistant Jason Kidd said. “He has that beautiful mind. And he’s just real chill. … He just doesn’t stress over a lot of stuff and that’s as simple as it gets.”
Kidd also told Ganguli that despite all the speculation that he didn’t come to the Lakers to be an assistant to Vogel for long, that rising rapidly up the ranks was never his expectation. It sounds like he’s pretty happy with where he’s at:
Asked about the outside perception that he would be after Vogel’s job, Kidd said that’s not an issue.
“I think the key word there is outside,” he said. “For whatever reason there’s always noise around the Lakers from the outside but on the inside it was always a calm situation. … There was never a discussion. It’s more or less, he knows I have his back, and he has mine and that’s what a team is all about.”
It really cannot be understated how huge such a unified front is for the Lakers, or any NBA team, really. Maybe this Lakers roster is the exception, but we’ve seen time and time again throughout NBA history how toxic a locker room can become when it’s clear that leadership at the top of the team isn’t unified. So far, the Lakers are far from having that problem.
Between LeBron James and Anthony Davis being in lockstep on the players’ side, and Kidd and Vogel not even offering up a hint of conflict on the coaching one, there are no factions to form in the locker room because everyone is on the same page, and an atmosphere has been created in which grousing about one’s role isn’t going to be tolerated.
Kidd apparently felt like he “skipped steps” on his way to his first two head coaching jobs, and for now is offering every indication that he’s happy learning what he may have missed. And given how well Vogel has pushed nearly all the right buttons while leading the Lakers to a 26-7 start after working just about every possible job one can have on his personal route to being a head coach, there may not be a better person for Kidd to learn what he skipped over from. So maybe these two having such a seemingly symbiotic relationship so far makes sense, after all.