The Los Angeles Lakers introduced Frank Vogel as their 27th head coach in franchise history on Monday. Most questions though at his introductory presser, were directed toward general manager Rob Pelinka. With former President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson going on ESPN First Take earlier that day calling him a “backstabber”, it can be easy to get lost in the off the court drama. If you dive deeper though, you can find some actual on the court questions that were answered.
With the goal being to create the most efficient offense, there has been a rapid increase in analytical data use throughout the league. Even with the questions it brings, there is no doubt the teams that can leverage it the best are most successful in today’s NBA. Following his presser, new head coach Frank Vogel went on the 710 ESPN Mason and Ireland show where he gave his thoughts on analytics and details his offensive approach:
I believe strongly in analytics and shot values that people tell you win games for you. Its all about efficiency, defensive efficiency, offensive efficiency rating and the net efficiency rating. These things are compiled by defensively forcing the shots you want the offense to take, and then offensively being selective, being patient working possessions. To go in priority, free throws first, the rim second, corner three third, arc three fourth and mid range jump shot fifth. We want to work possessions with that in mind, and the open shot always trumps the guarded shot. We want to be patient in shot quality, and shot responsibility on that end of the floor.
The last three years the Lakers have not ranked higher than 23rd in offensive efficiency. Last season they ranked 29th in both free throws and corner three percentage, which are two of the main things that Vogel preaches he would like to prioritize. With a bunch of roster spots unfilled, a lot of this will be tied also to who the team signs in free agency. Last year the front office decided to forgo shooting and surround LeBron James with a ton of playmakers , helping lead to a bottom ranked offensive team.
Vogel has openly admitted the league has changed since he last had success. Any head coaches comments on day one are obviously taken with some grains of salt, but it is still encouraging to hear him acknowledge it. The Lakers have really struggled offensively the last few seasons, and this modern approach could be a key to turning it around.