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Frank Vogel says it’s ‘surreal’ to get to coach the Lakers, and that Phil Jackson was one of his biggest coaching influences

Frank Vogel seems to appreciate his good fortune of being head coach for one of the NBA’s preeminent franchises.

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Los Angeles Lakers Introduce Frank Vogel - Press Conference Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images

No matter the state of the Los Angeles Lakers over the last few seasons, the franchise still holds a historical allure that hasn’t dimmed.

People grow up dreaming of playing for the Lakers, or simply being part of the team, and it was no different for Frank Vogel. While being interviewed on ESPN during the Lakers’ loss to the Knicks in Las Vegas Summer League, Vogel detailed how it felt to get hired to be the head coach of such a storied organization:

”It was surreal, to be honest with you. Obviously I’ve been in the NBA for many years now, 20-something years, but to be introduced as the head coach of such an iconic franchise and iconic brand, and in particular at a time when we have some really exciting years ahead of us, it’s just something I couldn’t be more excited about, couldn’t be more proud of, and I’m committed and dedicated to doing the best job I’ve done.

“For all those reasons, it means so much here, and I can’t wait to get started.”

Vogel has had success in the NBA, but it’s come in small markets. There is a substantial difference between making the conference finals in Indiana versus accomplishing the same feat in Los Angeles (just ask Paul George), and Vogel’s enthusiasm about taking on a new challenge in his coaching career is clear.

It certainly doesn’t hurt that Vogel will be presiding over some serious star power as coach of the Lakers. When he took the job in June, the team consisted of LeBron James and a horde of young players. Now, Vogel will be coaching James and Anthony Davis, easily the two best players he’s ever had a chance to work with. There is a lot of pressure on Vogel in this position, but there is also potential to achieve great success with this team over the next few years.

But while it’s his first time at the helm of a big-market franchise, Vogel has actually been a part of the Lakers organization before in a different capacity as an advance scout. As such, it isn’t surprising that he listed former Lakers coach Phil Jackson — who won five titles with the franchise — as one of his coaching influences:

“I put Phil in there on purpose even though I never directly worked with Phil, I scouted for the Lakers many years back. But his influence on my coaching style has been immense. Just studying the way he was able to coach without being a screamer or a yeller, and doing it with calm... I’ve always tried to maintain a level of calm.”

Being influenced by Jackson isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement for a Lakers head coach, considering Luke Walton is also part of Jackson’s coaching tree. However, being able to maintain calm in the never-ending circus that will assuredly surround the Lakers next year should be a helpful quality. There are enough veterans on this roster who have been in stressful postseason situations, and they would likely benefit from a calm and steady hand at the helm.

Vogel hasn’t really been at the forefront of Lakers news for about a month as trades and free agency have dominated the discussion. But he continues to have a strong message whenever he talks about this team. He has convincingly sold the media on why he’s the right fit as the Lakers head coach — now it’s time to do the same with his players.

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