Pacific Notes: Vogel, Caruso, Clippers, Warriors

Veteran coach Frank Vogel has advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time in his career and has a unique opportunity to lead the Lakers to their first championship in 10 years, Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press writes.

Vogel, who’s spent over 20 years in the league, has gotten close to reaching the Finals more than once in his career. His memorable stint with the Pacers as head coach (2011-16) included a seven-game loss to the Heat in the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals, followed by a six-game defeat to the Miami the following year.

“This career achievement is so far away from where I’m at mentally right now,” Vogel said after the Lakers’ Game 5 win over Denver. “I’m just trying to play my part. Give our guys a plan, make sure that everybody is playing together.”

Vogel started his coaching career as an assistant with the Celtics in 2001, left in 2004 to join the Sixers as an assistant, then held advanced scouting jobs with the Lakers (2005-06) and Wizards (2006-07). In the years that followed, he joined the Pacers as an assistant, became head coach, left for a two-season stint with the Magic and was hired by the Lakers as head coach in May of 2019. All of that, and at long last, he’s in the NBA Finals.

“He’s been great. He’s been unbelievable,” Lakers star LeBron James said of Vogel. “I mean, it’s been a crazy obstacle course for our franchise this whole year. … He’s been able to manage it the whole time. Bringing in guys, losing guys. He’s just always been the anchor, and our coaching staff has been right behind him. I can’t say anything more than that.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division tonight:

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32 thoughts on “Pacific Notes: Vogel, Caruso, Clippers, Warriors

  1. Center is not a high-priority position. Anthony Slater is wrong, again.

    All you need is a guy that can defend the rim, rebound and set picks up front. Center should also be able to switch on defense so Mobility is pretty important. But you really don’t need a high-profile Center, just a guy can do a few things and you’re done. You don’t need a big-time scorer either because the center position is so easy to double-team.

    Guards and wings are absolutely much more important to fill out on your roster. And if you have starters at those positions, start filling out your bench with those positions. Way more important.

    • arc89

      Warriors just need a center that rebounds and block shots. They do not need a scorer because they have 3 in the starting lineup. They will go for a center or wingman. They need rebounders that are tall against some of the bigger teams in the NBA.

      • Rewane

        They can actually use any decent rotation guy with any skill set because they have no bench.

        • Trust me they’ll have a bench next year. No problem. They’re called ring Chasers.

          • C-Daddy

            Ring chasers typically don’t join last place teams. They’ll obviously be much improved next year but are somewhat of a wildcard – I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion that veteran players will choose to sign there for minimum deals.

        • arc89

          wrong they have a bench but most of them were starters last year with all the injuries. Pascual, Chriss, Looney, Bowman, Lee, Mulder, Poole, Anderson, and Smarlegic is their bench. Now add in the free agents with the extra $17 million they have. Put Wiseman in the middle of their start 4.

          • Otogar

            Paschall, Chriss, Looney, Bowman, Lee, Mulder, Poole, Anderson and Smarlegic. If this is your bench, you’re going nowhere, believe me.

            • harden-westbrook-mvps

              Precisely. Five years ago the Warriors were probably the deepest team in the NBA, but now their bench is arguably the worst in basketball. Even with a healthy Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, they have few scoring options after those two and Wiggins. Draymond was horrible last season after getting his $100M extension, he’s now the highest paid role player in the NBA. The only players Golden State can add are going to be more has-beens willing to play for the minimum, unless they decide to go all-in and get someone with their $17M TPE and end up paying a monster luxury tax bill.

              • x_burner_X

                That wiggins contract is horrendous, he not Green is the highest paid role player. At least Draymond is a playmaker that can can lock up players on D.

                What does wiggins do? He doesn’t defend, he is at beast average shooting the ball, he can’t make plays for others.

                • arc89

                  Wiggins defense is much better than people give him credit for. He is a third option scorer for the warriors. Problem with Wiggins he is not the player you build around but with GSW he can be a great role player. Remember when the same thing was said about Butler?

                  • Otogar

                    Butler on one leg is a better defender than Wiggins. Last season Wiggins was #391 in defensive ratings among NBA players (with 9 Timberwolves players rating better than him).

              • arc89

                Coming from a Houston fan that is funny. Rockets do not have any youth on their team and draft picks are almost all gone. Warriors are younger and better. They showed in the playoffs getting to old to compete.

            • arc89

              so now name a team excluding all free agents that has a better starting 5 and deeper bench. GSW starting 5 will be deeper than any other team starting 5.

              • Otogar

                Klay comes from a 1-year injury and last year Green was a shadow of himself. Even if they add Wiseman, it’s just a rookie and there’s no guarantee he will succeed in the NBA. And Wiggins, at the moment is at most an average player. I can tell you many starting fives better than that. And virtually any playoff team has a better bench than the names you mentioned.

                • Otogar

                  To be sure, I think GSW will be a good team and will easily make the PO. But you cannot expect that a team featuring Wiggins instead of Durant (in his prime), with big question marks over Klay and Dray and with a bunch of average bench players (instead of people like Iggy or Livingston) will be a dominant force like the Warriors of 2 seasons ago. They can still make some moves, but with the current roster, even if they choose wisely in the draft, I wouldn’t consider them favorites by any means.

                  • Yes they have to bounce back after essentially a year off. That’s a lot tougher at 30 rather than 20. We’ll see how they do. I’m optimistic for a good result. The most important thing is they know what it takes, they know the grind that’s necessary, and I believe because their window is only two or three more years, that they are willing to pay the price this year. Hopefully injuries don’t derail that process.

                    It should be fun and interesting. Especially the offseason here with all the options the team has. The #3 pick, the Minnesota and their own pick next year, that 17mm trade exception and what do they do with that if anything or just a portion of it? Plus Andrew Wiggins could be corralled and encouraged into being a magnificent basketball player. He certainly has the tools and this environment is a little more conducive to success than the train wreck in Minnesota the last couple seasons.

                    We’ll see how it goes I think they’ll be okay. I think they’ll be dangerous. Not favorites that’s for sure. But as I said most importantly crossing my fingers for health and avoiding injuries for all the guys.

          • harden-westbrook-mvps

            They can’t sign free agents with their $17M TPE, it can only be used to bring in salary with a trade and not having to send any out.

    • x%sure

      Drafting Toppin may force that double-team anywhere on the court, leaving others open, which he can find. And yes rebound & shotblock. For defense there is Looney. IDK with Chriss.

  2. stevep-4

    I want to note that Vogel has always been a defensive coach, and “defense wins championships” is a cliche for a reason – however, it misses that defense ALONE doesn’t win championships. Talent with defense beats talent with no defense. (Same as in baseball, pitching with some offense wins over pitching with none).

    Happy for Vogel, but still for all his brilliance, look forward to the day when Lebron is not the main feature of the Finals. Really was hoping for Nuggets v Heat this year, although I am sure the networks want Lakers v. Celtics!

    • x%sure

      JVG was certainly hoping for the Celtics. He had to check himself several times when debating ref’s calls, to make himself take the right side. The trio was still rooting for Boston. Because of Haslem’s comments about Heat culture?

  3. Lionel Muggeridge

    Clippers should resign Jackson and let Morris and Trez walk. They didn’t show up in the playoffs

  4. GoLandCrabs

    Vogel was an excellent coach in Indiana and had a horrible roster in Orlando. People say “look at what Steve Clifford has done with them” to knock Vogel… Wow an 8 seed that is capable of stealing one playoff game and then getting gentlemens swept? Vogel was really holding them back from that potential.

  5. Sillivan

    Warriors bench
    6th man 17M TPE
    7th man 6M MLE
    8th man Wolves pick deal player
    9th man Looney

  6. KezarMike

    Squeeze the Knicks, dangle that second pick until they are drooling,then demand Robinson and their two picks or say no go, not negotiable and hang up and wait . At #8, pick Vassell or Haliburton if available . Of course, the Knicks would be kind of stupid to make that deal … But they ARE the Knicks … Or maybe see if the Bills want the #2 pick for the #4 and next year’s unprotected #1 … If the W’s keep the pick, I’d take Wiseman …

    • KezarMike

      The BULLS, not the Bills, though they probably have some good players, off to a good start …

  7. hoosierhysteria

    Vogel is a good man…happy for him. LBJ: shut up and dribble. If you want politics…run for office. Those jobs don’t pay much….

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