Frank Vogel Checks In For A May Update

For the second time since the suspension of the season in early March, Frank Vogel did a conference call to check in with beat reporters, and share his thoughts on where things stand at the moment.

Since we last spoke in early April,, things haven’t developed much, as Vogel, his coaching staff and the players remain in their respective homes awaiting news.

“We’re not going to be back on (May) 8th,” said Vogel, who is not worried about competitive balance even if some teams get more time at their facilities than others. “There’s a handful of teams around the league that are going to be back on the 8th, most of them will not. We’ll continue to see how things progress next week."

Los Angeles County has a stay-at-home order in place through at least May 15, which Mayor Eric Garcetti reiterated at a Wednesday press conference.

Vogel continues to be hopeful about a return to the season at some point, once it’s cleared at the league, and government, levels.

“I’m an optimist by nature,” he said. “I feel like we’re gonna have an opportunity to finish the season. I’m very well aware that there is a possibility that it does not happen. I just think with the whole world working the way it’s working to improve testing, to improve hospital capacity, to further understand the virus, to further understand social distancing guidelines and all those types of things. I’m just optimistic and hopeful that we’re going to be able to finish the season.

In April, Vogel talked about how it will be nearly impossible to find the same rhythm the West-leading Lakers had developed so well during the season given the long layoff, but he added that due to the veterans on the team and the leadership from LeBron and Anthony Davis, he thought they’d be able to come together quickly as they did to start the season. Yet as the layoff continues, so does the uncertainty about what will translate from the 63 regular season games that have been played.

“Well that’s the great unknown,” Vogel acknowledged. “No one’s ever been in this situation before where in the middle of the season you take a hiatus this long. My hope is that we will return to form when we’re able to resume. I think the buildup is going to be critical that we do it at the right pace if we’re able to get a camp. We build our guys back up at the right pace so guys are getting back in shape without getting injured and that we ultimately get to the games in fully good health.

“(But) just watching the tapes … we had a really good team. Have a really good team. Hopefully all the habits that we built throughout the course of the season won’t be too far away from us resuming those.”

Vogel had his assistant coaches prepping for possible playoff opponents last month, and this month, it’s on to various projects to study certain parts of the team’s system.

“Our video guys, Dru Anthrop and Jon Pastorek, have done an incredible job of putting together very detailed edits of high volume for us to be able to study the things were working for us, things we need to improve, and more importantly to remind us as we watch these tapes, how good a team we had,” Vogel explained. “These (Zoom) meetings have bene very exciting and encouraging. It’s something that makes me want even more to have the opportunity to finish our season when it’s safe and appropriate."

Vogel acknowledged the two main challenges of late: 1) an inability to really monitor players through workouts and conditioning, and 2) not being able to be on the court for skill work, basketball movements, defensive slides, touches, sprints and so on.

He also added a preference to play games before the playoffs start, whether some type regular season action, or even exhibition games to get players ramped up physically.

“I really don’t know what that timeline would look like, but I would hope that there’s going to at least be a handful of regular season games or exhibition games if they decide not to do regular season games,” he said.

Finally, Vogel filled us in on his and his family’s viewing habits of late:

“My joke that I’ve used probably too many times, is I’ve finished Netflix, and Amazon Prime and Hulu, and now I’m starting Disney+,” he said. “I think I finished all of it. Seems like it anyway. The “Lion King” is much better than the “Tiger King,” I did learn that. I’ve been watching a lot of Marvel movies … we watched a show called “Outer Banks” which was really good … we finished “Ozark” and we’re starting “Billions,” which is one of my favorite shows.”