Frank Vogel earned his shot. After eight seasons on an NBA bench as an assistant coach, he was thrust into the big chair as the interim coach in Indiana after Larry Bird led coach Jim O’Brien go mid-season. A team that had been 10-games under .500 with O’Brien in charge went 20-18 the rest of the way with Vogel, and they made the playoffs. That got Vogel the job full time.
Vogel coached the Pacers to the Eastern Conference Finals twice, both times losing to LeBron James‘ Heat. Now, Vogel may get the chance to coach LeBron. He interviewed for the Lakers coaching job on Friday and it went well, reports Adrian Wojnarowski and Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.
Former Orlando Magic and Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel made a strong impression in his interview with the Los Angeles Lakers and the sides are planning to talk again soon about the team’s head-coaching job, league sources told ESPN.
Remember that Vogel was a favorite of Phil Jackson and almost got the Knicks coaching job a few years back. Lakers power broker Kurt Rambis and Jackson remain close.
The Lakers are looking to replace Luke Walton, who was let go after last season when the Lakers missed the playoffs. Walton was quickly hired by the Sacramento Kings.
Vogel does not bring the star power you’d expect the Lakers to go after for their coach, but the man can coach the game (despite his struggles with a rebuilding and awkward Orlando roster). Give him enough talent and the team will win and should defend well.
Getting Vogel — or whoever is hired as coach — enough talent and a roster that meshes together is the bigger challenge for the Lakers this summer.