Heading into the 2019-20 NBA season, the league has seemingly switched from superteams with three or more All-Star players to teams with outstanding duos now.
Vogel’s most recent coaching stop didn’t go well as he struggled to improve the Orlando Magic. Before that, Vogel did an excellent job with the Indiana Pacers, taking them to back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals, but the talent and pressure that comes with this Lakers team is unlike anything he has ever faced.
Vogel understands this and in an interview with Steve Aschburner of NBA.com, he spoke about the opportunity to coach Davis and James, and the challenges it brings:
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. 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.
With all of the additions the Lakers made during the 2019 NBA offseason, it has somewhat been forgotten they have a new head coach as well. Vogel has proven he can be successful in this league, but he has always coached the underdog teams — not the favorites like he has here with the Lakers.
As Vogel noted, the pressure to perform with talent at hand like Davis and James is very real. He has said that he isn’t worried about James’ history with former head coaches, but it is extremely important that he has the respect of both James and Davis, which will trickle down to the rest of the team.
The Lakers have the talent, which means it will be about the schemes and execution. Much of that falls to Vogel.
Every head coach wants to have a situation where they can coach talent like James and Davis, but many forget the other side of that. Vogel is very aware of what must be done and the pressure that he faces and is ready to succeed in the face of it. It will simply be a matter of doing what needs to be done.