When the Los Angeles Lakers hired head coach Frank Vogel, many were skeptical due to the nature in which he was hired.
Namely, when the Lakers whiffed on a former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue deal due to the length of the contract. However, since that day, Vogel has been saying and doing all the right things, including making this Lakers team look like a true powerhouse through the 2019 NBA preseason.
Right when Vogel arrived, he preached figuring out a defensive identity before anything else and he figured out a lineup that he feels has the potential to be elite with Avery Bradley, Danny Green, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and JaVale McGee.
All indications are pointing to this being the starting lineup when the Lakers take the floor for their first regular season game on against the Los Angeles Clippers.
After a third straight win against the Golden State Warriors, Vogel warned about staying consistent on both ends of the court regardless of the situation or the opponent.
“What we’re trying to get accomplished is dominant defense and extremely selfless offense. Just playing for each other and playing stress-free offense,” Vogel said about the team’s current play style. “Not forcing anything at any time. You play to attack the basket and when you draw help, you just move the rock to the next man.”
This style has been working flawlessly so far in the preseason, but it will always be more difficult to get whatever they want offensively when the defenses are trying harder in the regular season. That’s why Vogel wants to make sure the defense is shored up by then, so the team can rely on that if the shots aren’t falling on a particular night.
While initially criticized for the odd dynamic between Vogel and assistant coach Jason Kidd, the Lakers coaching staff appears to be working out just fine in the early stages. Assistant coach Phil Handy appears to be one of the best additions for the Lakers this summer, and that will be even more apparent when Kyle Kuzma returns from injury.
Again, it’s just preseason, but the Lakers look like they could without question be a top-five offense this season. The question mark heading in was the defense.
For now, it seems Vogel knows exactly what he’s doing, creating a system that the players have fully bought into. They don’t need to be an elite defense, but being firmly in the top-10 would make championship aspirations seem a lot more like reality.