Since being hired, Frank Vogel has said all the right things, and some that should outright legitimately excite fans of the Los Angeles Lakers. Given the situation (and he is arguably in one of the toughest spots for any head coach hired in recent memory), Vogel has done all he could to make the most of a bad spot.
One legitimate question that people might have had for Vogel is how he spent the last year away from the NBA, to which he would answer that he hasn’t actually been away at all despite not being employed by a team, as he revealed during an appearance on “The Doug Gottlieb Show.”
“Well anybody that pretends to have all the answers is wrong, and they’re not going to get much done. I’ve got to continue to learn (the modern NBA), study it and it’s going to continue to evolve, and what you do with different teams and the current personnel you have, everything is going to be slightly different in different ways.
“I’ll continue to learn it, but like I said, I’ve been obsessed with figuring out the evolution of NBA defense in today’s NBA world, and I’ve got some strong viewpoints on the things that have to happen to build a modern, elite defense.”
Given some of the concerns about Vogel for a few antiquated principles on both sides of the ball, it’s great to hear that he got out and researched in order to broaden his mind. Now, just as with players, what coaches work on away from games and then what they’re willing to implement in them are two different things, but this is at least a good starting point.
Vogel’s been a lot more adept at making defenses work, so hopefully it’s on the offensive side of the ball where some of these concepts can really take shape. He will have to remain flexible, though, seeing as we simply have no idea what the roster might look like.
If the Lakers are able to land Kawhi Leonard, for example, working him in alongside other wings like Brandon Ingram and that LeBron guy might get kind of tricky — though just about any coach would die for those “problems.”
Should the Lakers sign Kyrie Irving in free agency (and apparently he’s considering it), Vogel will have to find a way to get him and Lonzo Ball to work while also getting enough touches for, you know, the aforementioned LeBron guy.
And if the Lakers don’t walk away with anyone in free agency, Vogel will really have to make up for the lack of superstar firepower that would be missed in that scenario.
Obviously, spending some time under an elite head coach as a part of their staff is the ideal way to learn in the NBA, but you could do much worse than Vogel’s tour of the league. It also speaks to his character that other coaches were willing to let him sit in on their practices.
As has been said a few times now, the issue with hiring Vogel isn’t the hire himself, and he’s only further evidenced that analysis. The issue was the process that led to said hiring. He had nothing to do with that process and can only endure the situation he was hired into, and thus far — just like his year away — he’s made the best of it. That's a positive development for the Lakers in a month without a lot of them so far.