Three years ago, Frank Vogel was hired to be the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.
He wasn’t their first choice, but he turned out to be the right choice.
He took a team that was lazy and ineffective defensively and turned it into a defensive juggernaut.
Under Vogel’s tutelage, the Lakers won the NBA championship in 2020, which was his first season with them.
The last two seasons, injuries and roster changes doomed L.A.’s hopes of winning another ring, and Vogel was fired in April.
After the team failed to make the play-in tournament this season despite being expected to contend for the world championship, the gut instinct is to say that Vogel is not a quality coach anymore.
But his track record speaks for itself, and he deserves to continue his head coaching career somewhere in the NBA.
Vogel Has Gotten Plenty Out Of Every Team He Has Coached
Vogel, a native of New Jersey, started his head coaching career with the Indiana Pacers in the 2010-11 season after Jim O’Brien was fired.
The Pacers had gone 17-27 under him, but after Vogel took over at midseason, they won 20 of 38 games and made the playoffs.
Over the next couple of years, as forward Paul George developed into a star, Vogel molded Indiana into a blue-collar team that won with defense, and it reached the Eastern Conference Finals in 2013 and 2014.
Overall, the team lacked talent compared to others that reach the conference finals, but under Vogel, it was greater than the sum of its parts.
Indeed, defense was the key, as the Pacers finished first in defensive rating both years they went to the East finals.
After coaching the Orlando Magic in 2017 and 2018, Vogel took a year off, and he said it helped him gain a greater understanding of how the NBA game had evolved since he had started coaching, especially on the offensive end.
The 2020 Lakers weren’t widely expected to win it all coming into the season, nor did they have a ton of lockdown defenders.
Superstar big man Anthony Davis was a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, and reserve guard Alex Caruso became a strong defender, but the rest of the team had some flaws on that end of the floor.
But Vogel got everyone to buy into winning with defense, including a 35-year-old LeBron James.
The 2020-21 NBA season tips off December 22nd pic.twitter.com/B91S41X08E
— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) November 26, 2020
No matter what the naysayers claim, defense is still the key to winning championships, and every coach demands that their players give a sincere effort on that end.
But only a handful of coaches are stellar at putting together a defensive game plan, and Vogel is one of them.
Vogel Has Already Gotten An Interview
Reportedly, Vogel will be interviewed for the head coaching job with the Utah Jazz.
Two more candidates expected to interview for Utah’s coaching job, sources tell ESPN: Frank Vogel and Jazz assistant Lamar Skeeter. https://t.co/1zQX8Trhq3
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 8, 2022
After a disappointing season that saw them lose in the first round of the playoffs, the Jazz moved on from coach Quin Snyder, as Snyder felt they needed a new voice.
As presently constituted, Utah has a fair amount of talent, starting with center Rudy Gobert, one of the game’s best rebounders and shot blockers, plus Donovan Mitchell, one of the NBA’s deadliest volume scorers.
There are rumors that they will break up that duo, but if they don’t, Vogel could help them become their best selves again.