The Los Angeles Lakers finally held their introductory press conference for head coach Frank Vogel today. With former President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson going on ESPN First Take earlier in the morning questioning current General Manager Rob Pelinka, there was a ton of off the court things to be addressed. There was some actual on the court conversations though, as he did discuss his basketball vision for the roster.
Due to the increase in three-point shots almost every team, including the Lakers, switched on a lot of their defensive possessions the last few years. Following his presser, Vogel went on the 710 ESPN Mason and Ireland show and elaborated on his own defensive philosophies for today’s game:
Well its a different world out there I will say that. The league has changed dramatically in the last four to five years, with the use of the three point shot and analytic based offenses. I think a lot of teams and coaching staffs have over rotated with the volume of switching that they allow, and encourage as part of their based scheme. Theres definitely a place and a need for to switch lot of action in todays NBA, but I think we have to minimize the times where its meaningless, and avoid some situations defensively that benefit the offense. I also think theres a lot of over rotating in terms of guarding the three point line and not protecting the basket . You still have to build your defense from the inside out, the paint still has to be the top priority. Then you have to have multiple effort, actions where guys are flying out to the three point line and stopping that as well.
Vogel has not had a winning record as a coach since 2016 with the Indiana Pacers. He had his teams in the top ten for multiple years in defense, gaining a reputation as a smart mind on that end of the floor. How much he actually adjusts remains to be seen, but its good to at least hear him acknowledge the shift in the league.
There can definitely be problems to over switching, as we have seen in the playoffs it can lead to easy mismatches on the floor. Teams who can’t switch at all though, do have a hard time being successful in today’s NBA. Finding that balance will undoubtedly be key for the Lakers and hopefully, Vogel with his staff can maximize the defensive potential on the roster next season.