The front-facing image Frank Vogel normally presents to the public in media sessions is that of a dad-joke-cracking, kind-of-dorky-but-affable stepfather. But if there was any doubt in the minds of Lakers fans that the team’s current head coach is also capable of a bit more fire behind closed doors, well, a recent episode of Spectrum SportsNet’s documentary series “Backstage Lakers” should put such questions to rest.
In the episode, cameras went behind the scenes of Lakers training camp, and got some audio of Vogel’s speech to the team prior to their first practice together, with Vogel outlining how he wants the Lakers to approach the season.
His choice of words may not have resulted in the type of start he or the organization were surely hoping for in terms of record, but it may have you ready to run through a brick wall at work (emphasis mine):
“We have to become greater than the sum of our parts. Our talent level alone is not going to win us a championship. We have to play selfless offensive basketball, and we have to be connected and tenacious on the defensive end. The effort piece has to be there... Play harder and more physical than our opponent. We smash people, we out-hustle people, and when we talk about our identity, this is it: Wire-to-wire dominance. This is our mindset for the regular season, because there is mental warfare with that. Teams know coming into the game already that they’re going to lose. Let’s hit the court.”
The full video also features Vogel outlining some of the defensive techniques he wants the team to use, LeBron James holding his teammates accountable on that end of the floor, and just gives us an overall look at a group of competitors in their element in a way we normally don’t get.
It is well worth a watch for any Lakers fan (h/t Lakers Reddit for finding it):
Now that the Lakers are rounding into form defensively, we are finally starting to see the results of messages like the ones above. And if Vogel can actually get this team that features so many iffy defenders to play good defense over the course of the season and become “greater than the sum of their parts” like he says, it might just end up being his greatest coaching job yet.