Lakers coach Frank Vogel doesn’t accept the argument that this year’s championship should come with an asterisk because of the unusual circumstances of the season, writes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. Vogel believes his players did the best job of adapting to the four-month layoff and the closed atmosphere in Orlando.
“To endure that type of intense pressure environment, where every detail is scrutinized, where the intensity was high,” he said, “to endure those meetings with no outlet of family, or whatever single guys would be doing, without an outlet, was one of the biggest challenges. It was a credit to all the participants to lean on and to support each other.”
With a title in hand after his first season as Lakers head coach, Vogel is enjoying his return to normal life after spending 95 days away from his family. Being on the road is an accepted part of the NBA, but this year was different. Like most coaches and players, Vogel was locked down from mid-March until early summer, when teams began preparing for their long stay at Disney World.
“It’s a really interesting time, to experience that double or nothing,” Vogel said. “Going from being quarantined at home to away from them 24-7 was really a big extreme for me and my family, but at the same time I’m proud it was something we really took in stride.”
Vogel also expressed admiration for the way the league was able to create an atmosphere that remained free from COVID-19 long enough to crown a champion. While Major League Baseball and the NFL have experienced frequent disruptions, no NBA player had to miss a game in Orlando because of the virus. Vogel kept his thermometer and pulse oximeter as souvenirs to remind him of what the league accomplished.
“For something that had never been done before, it was done on a gold-standard level,” he said. “To me, that was the most incredible thing about the bubble: getting that buy-in from 99% of the staff and players. There are things you come away with when you leave, like you felt there was a security blanket when you were there.”