The Los Angeles Lakers confirmed they hired Frank Vogel to be their next head coach in a press release on Monday afternoon, and he’s slated to speak to the media for the first time next Monday, June 20.
But his first remarks to the public since being hired are already here, courtesy of said press release, and it sounds like Vogel is eager to return to the organization he last worked in as an advance scout during the 2005-06 season.
“I am very excited for this opportunity to join the Lakers, a prestigious organization that I have long admired,” Vogel said in the press release. “I look forward to coaching such phenomenal talent and bringing my strategic vision to the team.”
The elephant in the room was always going to be the perception that the Lakers weren’t quite as excited to bring in Vogel, given that they only chose him after seeing their top two options — Monty Williams and Tyronn Lue — head elsewhere, but you wouldn’t have guessed that based on this quote from Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, who outlined what qualities led the Lakers to choose Vogel in the press release announcing that he had been hired.
“We are excited to add Frank Vogel as the next head coach of the Lakers,” Pelinka said. “Coach Vogel has a proven track record of success in the NBA Playoffs, and he reflects the core qualities we were looking for in a head coach – including, detailed game preparation, extreme hard work, and holding players accountable to the highest basketball standards.”
Vogel’s time as an advance scout certainly would qualify him to be evaluated as possessing “detailed game preparation” and “extreme hard work,” while his deep postseason runs with the Indiana Pacers do count as having proven playoff success.
As for the holding players accountable part, the fact that according to The BBall Index’s metrics, Vogel possesses the “best defensive optimization rating in our database among all coaches with 2+ seasons coached since the 2013-14 season, with tanking years for all coaches excluded” would certainly suggest an ability to hold players accountable on that end of the floor.
Vogel is now the Lakers’ 27th head coach in franchise history, and their 23rd since arriving in Los Angeles. His career record of 304-291 (.511) in 595 games at the helm of the Indiana Pacers (2010-16) and Orlando Magic (2016-18) is a testament to how successful those Indiana teams were (given his struggles in Orlando), and with the question marks surrounding his offensive abilities, it will be interesting to see what kind of coaching staff he puts together to complement his weaknesses.
Still, Pelinka and Vogel’s initial comments at least offer a glimmer of hope that the Lakers’ new GM-coach tandem will have better synergy and be more invested in one another than their last such pairing, and that’s a small piece of good news for the Lakers, even if there were issues with how they got here.