Frank Vogel is now officially the Los Angeles Lakers head coach and that means he’ll be walking into one of the better roster situations in the NBA.
He’ll have LeBron James, a talented young core, the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, and a max-contract slot in free agency.
During his introductory press conference, it seemed pretty clear that Vogel knew how great of an opportunity coaching the Lakers could be, and it’s largely because of the roster he’s been handed.
Vogel believes the Lakers are absolutely set up for success already, but it’s a matter of if everyone is willing to be tested and challenged during the 2019-20 NBA season.
“Can we succeed by coaching young players and LeBron James? Of course,” Vogel said of the team’s current roster. “Every player that I’ve ever been around who is frankly worth a damn, wants to be challenged, wants to be pushed, wants to be coached hard and wants to be held accountable. That will be the expectation with every player on the roster.”
Vogel then elaborated how he plans to work with each player on an individual level while acknowledging they will all be treated differently as long as there’s an equal level of fairness.
“Does that mean we’re going to treat everybody the same? No. Treat everybody fairly, but everybody will be treated differently,” Vogel said. “That’s just coaching. Every team I’ve ever been a part of, I’ve had that same approach. The bottom line is they will be pushed and they will be coached hard with the truth.”
Vogel knows he can not treat a 34-year-old James — with almost every accolade imaginable under his belt — the same way he treats Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and Josh Hart.
For an organization in search of stability especially at the head coaching position, Vogel’s words should be very comforting. He is bringing in the kind of experience and resume that general manager Rob Pelinka raved about in his introductory press conference. His pedigree and his no-nonsense attitude is something James can resonate with as well, and that’s a relationship that is extremely important heading into Year 2.
If Vogel can take everything he’s saying and translate it to the court, order may soon be restored in Los Angeles and the team’s six-year playoff drought can finally be over — especially if they can land a second All-Star player via free agency or trade.