Josh Hart has been active in the podcast circuit this offseason, and his latest soundbite bodes well for the new head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, Frank Vogel.
Vogel, who has already started to develop a relationship with LeBron James, outlined at his introductory press conference how he planned to do the same with the rest of his new players, starting by building a foundation of respect. It sounds like he’s already gotten off to a good start with Hart.
“There was stuff I had said about analytics or whatever, and they tried to tie that into my new coach (Frank Vogel). I’m sitting there like ‘yo, what?’ I’ve had several conversations (with him). Me and him have a great relationship. Don’t try to sit here and take that out of context and take it as I’m taking a shot at my coach. I like my coach. We’ve had conversations, I love the plan that he has built for the team.”
You can watch just that clip here:
Hart: I've had several conversations with our new coach [Vogel]. Me and him have a great relationship. I love the plan that he has built for the team. I wasn't happy with people taking shit out of context.https://t.co/ETyGyXfL3V@TheLakersReview @ShowtimeForum @AudelDelToro— ️ ️ ️ (@LAKERSFOREVER5) June 3, 2019
Hart wasn’t pleased with how he was used last season in the offense as a spot-up shooter instead of a playmaker, given the work he had put into that aspect of his game during the offseason and at Las Vegas Summer League. During the season, Hart was also part of a group that challenged Luke Walton about his coaching decisions after a loss to the Golden State Warriors. Suffice it to say, in terms of having a positive relationship with the head coach, there’s nowhere to go but up for Hart.
Vogel has spoken about instituting more structure in the Lakers offense so that the younger players aren’t subject to merely orbiting around James, which seems to fit with Hart’s desire to be able to do more. Vogel has also said that he would like to modernize the team’s offense by working from the perimeter into the paint, while building the defense from the inside out. Those principles are how Villanova plays under Jay Wright, where Hart experienced a great deal of success collegiately.
Regardless of why Hart was excited about Vogel’s specific plan for the team, the point is that he took the time to go to bat for his head coach when there was some noise around his relationship with Vogel, even if such noise always seemed like a bit of a reach in the first place. It would have been easy for Hart to stay silent on the subject, but he chose to outwardly support Vogel. This is the kind of togetherness that Vogel preached when he was first introduced, and it’s what the Lakers will need going forward.