Since being drafted with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Anthony Davis has played under just three coaches: Monty Williams, Alvin Gentry and, most recently, Frank Vogel. While Vogel and Davis have only worked alongside each other for a little less than four months, it seems as though the coach has already earned the respect of his superstar forward.
In a recent interview with Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN, Davis talked about his relationship with Vogel, who Davis said he admires for his consistent effort with the team:
“Frank comes in every day, win or lose, with the same attitude. Never too high and never too low,” Davis says. “I love his coaching, I love his coaching style — and I love him as a coach.”
That love is reciprocated with Vogel, but sometimes it comes in the form of tough love, which Davis also respects:
After a lackluster defensive performance earlier this month against the New Orleans Pelicans in which the Lakers allowed 68 points in the paint on 67% shooting, Vogel unleashed his fury in an exhaustive film session featuring a sequence of defensive snafus.
“He got on all of us — me, LeBron, everyone. A lot of coaches don’t get on their superstars, but he does,” Davis says. “What’s impressed me the most is that even when we win, he holds us accountable. When a team sees a coach getting on LeBron or me, the other guys respect him more and know they’ll be held accountable too.”
In their next game, the Lakers set a franchise record with 20 blocks in a win over the Detroit Pistons.
The relationship between Davis and Vogel is an important one, for obvious reasons.
Vogel signed a three-year contract with the Lakers last summer, and Davis can test unrestricted free agency this summer. If Davis and Vogel didn’t hit it off, the Lakers would have gone into negotiations with a slight handicap.
Now, it’s starting to sound like Vogel’s relationship with Davis could give the Lakers an advantage in free agency. Add that to the fact that Davis is also close with LeBron James — who’s under contract through at least 2021 — and it would be hard to argue that they’re not the favorites for his services going into this summer.
Obviously a disappointing second half of the season and/or an underwhelming postseason run could change things, but for now, there’s plenty of reasons for optimism, with Vogel and Davis’ relationship just one more thing to add to the list.