Frank Vogel lays out plan to lift Lakers back to prominence as he's introduced as new head coach
Vogel explains why the current public perception of the Lakers doesn't match reality
The Los Angeles Lakers have their new head coach, and as they officially introduced Frank Vogel on Monday, Vogel immediately laid out his path back to success for the Lakers.
"The focus for our group has got to be to remain in the moment," Vogel said. "There's obviously been a lot of outside noise... there's been a lot of outside noise that we're going to be tasked with blocking out. There's going to be a lot of talk about getting our team back into the playoffs, and what the Lakers represent in terms of a tradition of competing for championships. Those are end result things. We are going to be focused on the work... Focus on the task at hand, and then those accolades, those achievements, those results, they will come."
In his first public comments as the Lakers head coach, Vogel emphasized organizational "togetherness," from ownership all the way down to the training staff.
"We need to build togetherness with our organization," he said. I don't just mean with the 17 guys that are going to be in uniform. I'm talking about organizational togetherness. Starting with ownership to the front office to the coaching staff, to the players to the trainers, the business side. We are all going to be pulling in the same direction... You can accomplish amazing things if everybody is together.
"Playing a together brand of basketball with also be emphasized on a daily basis. We're going to be unselfish. We're going to play by trusting the pass, creating for others with the basketball. Defensively, communicating, talking to each other and covering for each other, working together. It starts organizationally wide, translates onto the basketball court, and I've seen it. When it happens, you win big. And that's going to be a big part of what we're trying to accomplish here."
Vogel, who has previously served as the head coach of the Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic, will serve as the replacement for Luke Walton following Walton's departure from the organization in April. Vogel becomes the Lakers' fifth permanent head coach since Phil Jackson's retirement in 2011. He holds a career 304-291 record, and he led the Pacers to a pair of consecutive Eastern Conference Finals appearances in 2012-13 and 2013-14.
Vogel has his work cut out for him, but despite the pressure facing him to quickly turn the Lakers back into a perennial Western Conference contender, he is excited about the opportunity to turn the tide.
"I am very excited for this opportunity to join the Lakers, a prestigious organization that I have long admired," Vogel said in a statement following his hiring. "I look forward to coaching such phenomenal talent and bringing my strategic vision to the team."
The excitement is mutual, clearly, as the Lakers selected Vogel to be the one to lead them back into the playoff picture. (Though they may have hedged their bet a bit by naming Jason Kidd as an assistant).
"We are excited to add Frank Vogel as the next head coach of the Lakers," Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said. "Coach Vogel has a proven track record of success in the NBA Playoffs, and he reflects the core qualities we were looking for in a head coach – including detailed game preparation, extreme hard work, and holding players accountable to the highest basketball standards."
Vogel begins his tenure during a tumultuous time in Laker land. On Monday morning, former Lakers president of basketball operationsgeneral manager Rob Pelinka, and shed some light on the dysfunction going on behind the scenes in Los Angeles. However, Vogel noted that current public perception of the Lakers doesn't match the reality that he has experienced.
"What I'd like to add is that the perception of our organization is very far from the reality," Vogel said. "... Quite frankly, there's a lot of positivity."
Vogel can't be blamed for the drama that came before him, but from here on out he can and will be blamed for issues that arise within the organization, so he has to hope that he will be able to achieve the "togetherness" that he referred to, or he could ultimately meet the same fate as his predecessor.
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