Last season should have given everybody a reason to put respect on Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel’s name with all the different schemes drawn up to neutralize the best scorers in the association. Instead, most of the credit went to LeBron James and Anthony Davis, as it always does when two stars team-up.
In today’s NBA, narrative drives the conversation and no player has a stronger narrative than LeBron James. So naturally, the coach of LeBron receives little to no credit due to LeBron being looked at as a “player-coach” and the leader of the team.
Vogel was the mastermind behind the 2-3, 3-2 zone that was played against the Houston Rockets in the playoffs and had James Harden befuddled on what to do. Even before the Houston series, Vogel schemed up trapping Damian Lillard and forcing Jusuf Nurkic to make critical decisions in tight situations.
In the Denver Nuggets series, Vogel decided to start Dwight Howard after going an entire round against Houston with AD at center and received criticism about it.
Each of those decisions ended with the Los Angeles Lakers winning the series in five games.
Coming into this season as the defending champs and with new players, the Los Angeles Lakers were still looked at as the favorite to win the title. Vogel had a lot on his plate dealing with the shortest offseason for NBA champions ever and still had the Lakers as the second seed in the West with players in out of the lineup due to COVID protocols.
Two seasons with an unprecedented virus and new regulations would usually spell disaster for teams but the Lakers have been one of the only teams to not have any games rescheduled due to COVID protocols. The credit for that goes to the head coach for running a tight ship.
To make matters even worse, AD gets injured and is out for the next several weeks but that does not stop the Lakers as they stay in the second to third range. Most would say Vogel still has LeBron so the Lakers should still be good and I would not disagree.
Until LeBron goes down with an injury and now the Lakers are a team made up of parts that complement LeBron and AD strictly. Vogel initially struggled to find the right lineups to play but eventually, Vogel found the common theme that connects a team no matter who is available.
Defense, the Lakers without AD and LeBron boast the best defense in the league and have stabilized despite being written off by many. Going near-.500 without LeBron and AD while having the best defense in the league speaks about the skills that Vogel possesses.
Frank Vogel should be the Coach of the Year.