Frank Vogel knows he’s facing big expectations entering his first season as the Lakers head coach, especially with managing stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
During a recent Q&A interview with NBA.com, Vogel opened up about his approach to coaching two of the best players in the league and making sure they blend well with the rest of the players on the roster.
“Talent-wise, they’re the two best players I’ll ever have had the opportunity to coach. That brings a lot of fun, a lot of excitement to what we’re able to do on the court,” Vogel said. “It brings a lot of challenges too. You have to make sure you’re managing them the right way and putting them in the right positions to feel good about their roles and what’s happening around them. There are challenges involved with that. So I’m looking forward to how that all is going to play out.”
“When you got talented guys working together, you can accomplish anything.”
Coach Vogel gives a preview of the culture he wants to build and his on-court philosophies. pic.twitter.com/59f8OMYcsP
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) May 23, 2019
Vogel replaces Luke Walton, who parted ways with Los Angeles after three seasons with the team and just one with James. Walton and James built a 20-14 record before the 15-time All-Star missed five weeks due to injury. Vogel acknowledged some of the concerns that coaches have when it comes to leading James, but said he’s not relying on James’ past relationships with coaches to determine how the two will bond on the court.
“I only know how he’s been with me. That’s the only measuring stick I’m going to use,” Vogel said. “I’m not going to look at how it’s been with his past coaches. That really doesn’t concern me. I want to shape my own opinion of him as a person and one of the greatest ever. I’m going to take my approach and work together with him to hopefully do something special.”
As for Davis? Vogel explained that it’ll be important to determine whether the six-time All-Star plays forward or center.
“To me, he’s effective in both positions. But I don’t think it’s wise when your mindset is to be at your best going into the playoffs, to have him banging with centers for 82 games full time,” Vogel said of Davis, who joined the Lakers as part of a trade with the Pelicans. “Does that mean he’s never going to do it in the regular season? No, of course he’s going to play some center in the regular season. But we want to make sure we keep the end goal in sight and getting him to April, for that playoff run, the right way.”
Vogel said despite the high expectations, he’s prepared for whatever this season may bring.
“We have the pieces to compete for a championship. To have expectations that it’s all going to come together immediately might be reaching a little bit,” Vogel said. “I’m sure we’ll have some bumps in the road. But hopefully as these guys gel … we have a number of guys with terrific resumes, but they have to learn each other. And they’ll have to learn each other quickly.
“Then we’ll be in the mix for the regular season and positioning ourselves for a playoff run. You just never know how quickly that process is going to play out. So hopefully, whatever the regular season looks like, by the time you get into the playoffs you’re gelling at the right time and playing your best basketball.”