Frank Vogel has addressed the media for the first time as the Suns head coach and he has vowed that the team will be “scrappy as hell”, while GM James Jones says the franchise is on the cusp on winning a chip.
Vogel has a 431-389 record in 11 seasons as head coach for the Pacers, Magic and Lakers.
He led the purple and gold to a championship in the bubble season of 2020 and was able to bring together the skills of two big stars of the game – LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Can he do the same at Phoenix with Kevin Durant and Devin Booker?
The skills are there, Vogel just needs to harness them.
The 49-year-old told the media how Durant is excited to get started under his new defensive-based approach.
“[Durant] even hit me when we were talking and says, ‘I can’t wait to guard in your system,’” Vogel said. “He wants to get after it on both sides of the ball, he feels like that’s something that really gets him going on the other end. And I love that.
“The number one habit that we develop all year is that we have to play harder and tougher and with more hustle than our opponents every night,” Vogel said. “Because if you develop that habit over 82 games, boy when you get to come playoff time, you know when every team’s trying to ratchet it up, it’s already going to be there for us.”
Vogel’s teams in the past have been full of physicality, like the Indiana side that Paul George was part of.
With one of the league’s best scorers in Booker and 13-time All-Star Durant, Vogel won’t be facing an overhaul like he did in LA so he likes the team’s chances of succeeding.
“We’re very close,” Vogel said. “A lot of things have to go our way. You need a lot of luck and you need some breaks along the way, but I feel like the foundation is in place. We’ve got to just make some moves around the edges.”