Frank Vogel, the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers chatted with a number of reporters on a conference call via the NBA last week. Here he shares what his conversations with LeBron James and Anthony Davis have been like, how the Lakers plan to move forward and the possibility that the NBA 2019-20 season may be over.
HOW HIM AND THE LAKERS ARE STAYING GAME-READY:
I basically began to watch some of our recent games and just take notes on the way we were progressing so that we can make sure that we can pick up where we left off, whenever we are able to resume. We’ve got our coaches working on our playoff opponents as if the [regular] season were not to resume and they were to go right into the playoffs, looking at those 8 teams that we may face. The coaches have been given assignments to watch more games on that and compile data and make notes and observations.
THE AVAILABILITY OF COVID-19 TESTS FOR THE LAKERS AND STAFF:
To my knowledge the rest of our staff was not tested. The only people that were tested upon the news of the Brooklyn Nets positive test results were our players. That was from following the lead of our team doctor and the local health officials. We were not told to be tested, obviously everybody recognized the shortage of tests and we’re only gong to do what the local health department told us to do. I reassured my family that I was in good health and obviously, while I had been around those guys, there had been some social distancing guidelines in place. I felt fine and I felt confident that a test wasn’t needed for me personally. I think everybody is in a case-by-case basis with that.
HIS RECENT CONVERSATIONS WITH LEBRON JAMES AND ANTHONY DAVIS:
I’ve spoken to them. We’ve had conference calls with them as well with Rob Pelinka just giving them updates. Talking about what we can do, what we can’t do, we put together some virtual workouts for them. It’s really like the off-season, the time to give everybody space, check in on them from time to time but we understand that we’re going to be in this for some time here. It’s more like an off-season mindset right now, things are not mandatory but obviously we’re competing for something bigger, so our guys all have the mindsets to make sure that they’re doing everything they can to stay ready for when we resume.
HOW THE LAKERS WILL TRY TO KEEP THEIR MOMENTUM
We’re going to have to recreate it. It think it’s going to be difficult if we just say ‘maintain, maintain, maintain.’ We got to pick up right where we left off. We have to reestablish our chemistry, reestablish our work ethic, reestablish our conditioning, rhythm and timing. Every team in the league is going to have to do that. With the veterans that we have on this team, the way that we’ve come together so quickly for really a new group, gives me a reason to be encouraged that we can accomplish this very quickly, again.
WHAT THE FUTURE OF THE SEASON MIGHT LOOK LIKE
I’ve looked at it every different way that you can and it’s really something that’s not in my control. It’s going to be up to the league to decide where we actually resume from a scheduling stand point; Do we try to play the regular season game? Do we try to play a handful of regular season games before the playoffs start? Do we start right at the playoffs? There’s a million different layers you can look at it. I trust the league is going to get the most of it that we can while doing it in a socially responsible way and in a way that’s safe for the world.
THE POSSIBILITY THAT WE MAY HAVE SEEN THE FINAL GAME OF THE SEASON
Well, anything is possible. That’s certainly a possibility and it would be a huge disappointment if we were not able to play, however we get it. This is bigger than basketball, us getting back on the court is not the most important thing for the world right now. Hopefully we have that chance and if we’re not able to, it would be a big disappointment but I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.
HOW HE’S SPENDING HIS DOWN TIME
I’ve watched a ton of old games. I’ve seen Danny Green play against LeBron in the finals, I’ve seen Jason Kidd play against LeBron in the finals, I’ve seen my Kentucky Wildcats play against the Arizona Wildcats in the National Championship game. That’s been fun to watch. From a standpoint of the current Lakers situation, I took some time off immediately when it happened. I knew that this was going to be a long haul and I wanted to decompress a little but. That lasted about a day or two.
WHAT THE SILVER LINING IS
My wife and I work out together every day, which is great. My daughters are doing their school work and they have lacrosse assignments and zoom workouts for soccer. We’ve binged watched a couple different shows; we finished Stranger Things, we went through All American on Netflix, we watched a coupe movies, Just Mercy. I watched Good Will Hunting with my oldest daughter and we’re cooking together every night. We made [homemade] pizza last week, we’re just trying to have as much fun as we can and enjoy the silver lining in this which is the family time.