NBA

Lakers' Vogel explains approach to coaching LeBron & Davis

By Sports Desk September 10, 2019
Frank Vogel Frank Vogel

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel explained his approach to working with stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis this season.

Vogel will lead the Lakers in the upcoming NBA season after Luke Walton left Los Angeles, where it has been six successive campaigns without playoff basketball.

The Lakers have boosted their postseason and championship chances by luring Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans to team up with superstar James.

Vogel knows he is facing big expectations entering his first season and in a Q&A with NBA.com, the former Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic coach said: "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."

Vogel replaces Walton, who parted ways with the Lakers after three seasons and just one with James.

Walton and James built a 20-14 record before the 15-time All-Star missed five weeks due to injury.

Vogel acknowledged some of the concerns that coaches have when it comes to leading James, but said he is not relying on the three-time NBA champion's past relationships with coaches to determine how the two will bond on the court.

"I only know how he's been with me. That's the only measuring stick I'm going to use," Vogel said. "I'm not going to look at how it's been with his past coaches. That really doesn't concern me. I want to shape my own opinion of him as a person and one of the greatest ever. I'm going to take my approach and work together with him to hopefully do something special."

As for Davis? Vogel explained that it will be important to determine whether the six-time All-Star plays forward or center.

"To me, he's effective in both positions. But I don't think it's wise when your mindset is to be at your best going into the playoffs, to have him banging with centers for 82 games full time," Vogel added. "Does that mean he's never going to do it in the regular season? No, of course he's going to play some center in the regular season. But we want to make sure we keep the end goal in sight and getting him to April, for that playoff run, the right way."

Vogel said despite the high expectations, he is prepared for whatever this season may bring.

"We have the pieces to compete for a championship. To have expectations that it's all going to come together immediately might be reaching a little bit," Vogel said. "I'm sure we’ll have some bumps in the road. But hopefully as these guys gel … we have a number of guys with terrific resumes, but they have to learn each other. And they'll have to learn each other quickly.

"Then we'll be in the mix for the regular season and positioning ourselves for a playoff run. You just never know how quickly that process is going to play out. So hopefully, whatever the regular season looks like, by the time you get into the playoffs you're gelling at the right time and playing your best basketball."

Related items

  • No back-to-backs for Zion Williamson when he returns, says Pelicans GM Griffin No back-to-backs for Zion Williamson when he returns, says Pelicans GM Griffin

    Zion Williamson is unlikely to play on back-to-back nights when he returns from injury and finally makes his NBA regular-season debut, New Orleans Pelicans general manager David Griffin has said.

    The much-hyped number one overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft is yet to take to the court in the regular season, having undergone surgery on his knee the day before the Pelicans' campaign started.

    Williamson, who averaged over 23 points in preseason, was expected to be back within six to eight weeks, so his return is imminent.

    However, the struggling 6-16 Pelicans will refrain from using Williamson on back-to-back nights initially.

    "He very likely will not be asked to take the pounding of back-to-backs initially," Griffin told Fox Sports.

    "There will be a sort of ramp-up for him to getting back to where you would call him full strength, but he's certainly going to be playing, and we're trying to win basketball games, and quite frankly, we've done a horrible job of that."

    The six-week point of Williamson's surgery passed earlier this week and Griffin insists he is still on course to be back within the initial timeframe laid out.

    "He continues to progress," Griffin added.

    "He's progressing very well. He feels very good about his process. And eight weeks is several days from now, and if we get outside of that, it will be because he hasn't met the metrics for return-to-play that are laid out for him and every player on our team.

    "He will not be treated any differently in terms of the return-to-play metrics.

    "Nothing's changed, the timeline has not changed.

    "If he hits those metrics in seven weeks fine; if he hits them in 10 weeks, fine. We don't care when that is, but he's not getting on the court until he proves to us he's healthy, no matter what he wants to do."

  • Rockets overcome Raptors, 76ers beaten Rockets overcome Raptors, 76ers beaten

    The Houston Rockets were too good for the Toronto Raptors in the NBA on Thursday, while the Philadelphia 76ers' streak came to an end.

    The Rockets went 22-of-55 from three-point range in a 119-109 victory over the Raptors at Scotiabank Arena.

    Ben McLemore (eight-of-17) and P.J. Tucker (five-of-10) did most of the damage for Houston from beyond the arc.

    McLemore finished with 28 points, while Tucker had a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds as James Harden (23 points) and Russell Westbrook (19 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists) got plenty of support.

    Pascal Siakam had 24 points for defending champions the Raptors.

    Joel Embiid's double-double of 26 points and 21 rebounds was not enough for the 76ers, who went down to the Washington Wizards 119-113.

    The result saw Philadelphia's four-game winning streak come to an end, while they are now 5-7 on the road this season.

     

    Brilliant Booker, all-round Nuggets

    Devin Booker had 44 points on 13-of-24 shooting in the Phoenix Suns' 139-132 overtime win against the New Orleans Pelicans.

    The Denver Nuggets had eight players score in double-figures in a 129-92 thrashing of the New York Knicks.

     

    Knicks' struggles continue

    The Knicks (4-18) have the longest losing streak in the NBA after it was stretched to eight games.

     

    Hayes hammer

    Jaxson Hayes, the eighth pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, produced a monster dunk in the Pelicans' loss to the Suns.

    Thursday's results

    Washington Wizards 119-113 Philadelphia 76ers
    Denver Nuggets 129-92 New York Knicks
    Houston Rockets 119-109 Toronto Raptors
    Phoenix Suns 139-132 New Orleans Pelicans

     

    Clippers at Bucks

    Milwaukee's 13-game winning streak will be put to the test as the Bucks (19-3) host the Los Angeles Clippers (16-6) on Friday in a clash between two of this season's contenders.

  • Eden Hazard is the Michael Jordan of football, says Martinez Eden Hazard is the Michael Jordan of football, says Martinez

    Eden Hazard is the Michael Jordan of football as Belgium boss Roberto Martinez tipped the Real Madrid star to win the Ballon d'Or.

    Hazard – regarded as one of the best players in the world – swapped Premier League outfit Chelsea for LaLiga powerhouse Madrid in a blockbuster transfer prior to the start of the season.

    The Belgium international has showed flashes of his brilliance, earning praise for his performances prior to suffering a small ankle fracture.

    Asked about Hazard, Martinez likened the Red Devils captain to Chicago Bulls great and NBA Hall of Famer Jordan.

    "I see Hazard winning the Ballon d'Or," Martinez told Cadena Ser program El Larguero. "He has the role of being a Ballon d'Or winner.

    "What he has done is the level of the Ballon d'Or and he is always eligible for the prize.

    "He has done it at Chelsea, in France. It is difficult for a foreigner to be at the reference of a project that works to win the league.

    "He is a last-pass player, a Michael Jordan. Hazard is the Michael Jordan of football."

    Hazard – who has scored once this season – will miss El Clasico against Barcelona on December 18 due to a small fracture in his ankle.

    The Madrid forward was forced off in the 2-2 Champions League draw with Paris Saint-Germain last month.

    "It's more the process of the injury," Martinez said on Thursday. "In the game against PSG, he had a setback and now we've discovered that he will spend a bit more time out than expected.

    "There's nothing to worry about. You want a player like Eden to be 100 per cent, and now he'd established himself in the team and he was playing well.

    "He's in very good physical condition and he'll be back very soon. You don't want to lose players of his level, but a team always has to deal with injuries, suspensions... Real Madrid are well prepared for this."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.