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Report: Frank Vogel set to interview for Bucks head coach opening

Vogel won a title with the Lakers in 2020 before being fired in after last season

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We can now add another head coaching candidate to the pile for the Milwaukee Bucks. On Wednesday afternoon Marc Stein dropped the news that former Lakers head coach Frank Vogel is set to interview for the position this week.

Vogel is no stranger to the Central Division as he coached the Indiana Pacers from 2011–2016. That came after Vogel started out as an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics in 2001 before moving to the 76ers for the 2004 season. Vogel was then brought on to the Indiana Pacers’ coaching staff in 2007 by Jim O’Brien, who was the head coach of the Celtics while Vogel was there.

It took just 3 12 seasons for Vogel to be named as the interim head coach after O’Brien was fired midway through the 2010–11 season with the Pacers sitting at the 10th seed in the East at 17-27. After the change was made, Indiana went on to win 7 of 8 and made it back to the 8th seed in the East. While the Pacers would go on to finish the year at 13-17, they still made the playoffs, where they would lose in five games to MVP Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls.

Vogel would go on to lead the Pacers to greater heights, as they would make the Eastern Conference Finals back-to-back years with a young Paul George in 2013 and 2014. However, they would lose both times to the big three Miami Heat. Vogel was fired after being bounced in the first round by the Toronto Raptors as a 7-seed in 2016.

After two forgettable years with the Orlando Magic, Vogel was hired by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2019 after Luke Walton was fired. Behind his defensive tactics and the offensive firepower of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers would win the “Mickey Mouse,” NBA Championship in The Bubble. Vogel lasted only two more seasons in LA after the Lakers fell in the first round to the Suns in 2021 and traded for Russell Westbrook in 2022, which all but sealed his fate with the Lakers not even qualifying for the play-in.

I think Vogel falls somewhere in the middle of this cycle of retread head coaching candidates. I think he would cook up a fantastic defensive gameplan for the Bucks. We saw what he was able to do with the Lakers who had the likes of Davis, Alex Caruso, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Avery Bradley, and Danny Green. Lots of good perimeter defenders with one big piece in the middle of that defense to make it all go. I’m sure with Giannis, Jrue Holiday, and Brook Lopez that Vogel could execute stifling defensive performances on a nightly basis.

The issue comes with offense and if Vogel is creative enough on that end of the floor. Personally, Vogel’s teams have always struck me as a defensive juggernaut that can score just enough points to win any game. Vogel’s first full year at the helm with the Pacers the team finished 7th in offensive rating. However, since then Vogel has only had one team that finished above 20th in offensive rating and that was the 2020 Lakers (11th at 112.0).

The pace that Vogel typically operates with also doesn’t fit with the Bucks. Outside of his years with a young Orlando team and one year with Westbrook, Vogel’s teams have always finished outside the top 15 in pace. I think that along with the lack of offensive game planning doesn’t mesh well with the Bucks’ strengths as a team.

It will be very interesting to see where the Bucks go and if they decide if Vogel is the man for them. This is now the 11th interviewee for the job with 13 total reportedly being candidates. We will keep you up to date if any more coaches are thrown into the ring until a hire is made.