Throughout his eight-year career as a head coach, Frank Vogel has had the privilege of coaching some of the league’s most talented big men. From 2010 to 2015, Vogel coached Roy Hibbert, who made two All-Star appearances under Vogel and was the runner up for Defensive Player of the Year in 2014.
Then, during his two seasons with the Orlando Magic, Vogel coached Serge Ibaka and Nikola Vucevic, While those Orlando teams didn’t enjoy much success, Vogel got the most out of his big men.
This season, Vogel will have the opportunity to coach his most decorated young center yet, Anthony Davis: a four-time NBA All-Star, three-time block champion and three-time All-NBA First Teamer. Vogel will only be the third coach Davis has had over the course of his seven-year-career. For context, the Lakers have gone through four head coaches since then.
During an ESPN telecast of the Lakers-Knicks Summer League game in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Vogel talked about his excitement to coach Davis and said that he’s confident Davis will contribute on both ends of the floor:
“Just knowing that he’s going to dominate both ends of the floor, that’s the most exciting thing. The most success I had as a coach was when Paul George was doing that ... When you get guys that are dominating both ends of the floor, the rest of the game gets easy. We have several guys that can do that. You look at LeBron obviously, AD, Avery Bradley has just been added to the mix, Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Rajon. We got a lot of two-way players, but AD is going to lead the charge in that regard, there is no question about that.”
Unlike Bradley and Rondo, though, Davis has shown signs of being a two-way force recently.
Last season Davis was the only player in the league to average at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. As a matter of fact, Davis has averaged at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks every year since the 2013-14 season, which was his sophomore campaign. The last person to match those averages in a season was Dwight Howard in the 2011-12 season, the season before he was traded to the Lakers.
FUN FACT: LeBron James (34) and Anthony Davis (26) are the same ages Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard were when they teamed up in 2012.
It’s for that same reason that Davis has been among the top-20 league leaders in box plus-minus in four out of the seven seasons he’s played in the NBA. Last season, he ranked fourth. For his career, he’s ranked seventh among active players behind Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Chris Paul and, of course, LeBron James.
While he alone can’t make the Lakers an elite offensive or defensive team, he’s a good centerpiece to have, to say the least, and Vogel seems to recognize that. Paired with James and a defensive-minded coaching staff, there might be another level Davis can get to.
All stats are courtesy of NBA.com and basketball-reference.com unless otherwise noted. For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts.