The Los Angeles Lakers finally found their head coach on Saturday afternoon. Frank Vogel and the Lakers agreed to a deal after their first choices decided to stay away. Now, it seems Vogel also agreed to all of their wishes and hired Jason Kidd as the top assistant.
First, the Lakers had their eye on Phoenix Suns’ head coach Monty Williams. However, he never received a worthwhile deal from the Lakers and chose the Suns with their up and coming talent. Although the Lakers were shocked, they still had another coach that would have loved to join the organization. However, the Lakers low-balled Ty Lue and he decided to walk away from a potentially bad situation.
Lue helped lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to the 2016 NBA title. However, the Lakers were only willing to sign him to a three-year deal worth about $19 million at the most. They also wanted Lue to hire Kidd as an assistant coach. However, Lue was looking more towards a five-year contract in similar fashion to the previous head coach Luke Walton. As a result, Lue didn’t take the offer, especially when he didn’t have control over what coaches would be on his staff.
By all accounts, Vogel wasn’t on the radar until Lue turned down the job. He also had plenty of NBA coaching success with the Indiana Pacers. Vogel led the Pacers to within two wins of the NBA Finals in 2014. They were a Game 7 loss away from the NBA Finals in 2013. Yet, the Miami Heat stood in Vogel’s way. The main culprit happened to be LeBron James. Six years later, Vogel is going to attempt to get James back into the playoffs for an NBA title run with the Lakers.
Although he has been successful, the last two seasons as a head coach have been rough for Vogel. During his last two seasons with the Pacers, Vogel missed the playoffs and lost to the Toronto Raptors in seven games. He was let go only to find himself trying to rebuild the Orlando Magic. Unfortunately, Vogel went (54-110) as a head coach with the Magic. As a result, he was out of coaching last season.
Now, Vogel is back is the most scrutinized coaching job in the NBA. Can Vogel coach? Certainly. However, the point is he will need an opportunity to coach this team to the best of his ability. That won’t be easy based off of recent occurrences.
The Lakers haven’t made the playoffs since 2013 when the finished with a (45-37) record. The Lakers haven’t won more than 37 games since that season. However, they have increased their win total in each of the last three years. It’s possible Vogel is the coach to get the Lakers back on track.
The Lakers must create defensive mindset under Vogel. He will bring the concepts. With Lonzo Ball’s defensive skills at the point guard, the Lakers have a chance to be an elite defensive team. But there is a wonder of what will happen if the Lakers don’t get off to a fast start. That’s when we will know what type of team the Lakers have become.