The Knicks & Frank Vogel Are A Perfect Fit
Frank Vogel was let go by the Indiana Pacers on Thursday after six seasons as the head coach. In those six years, Vogel’s record was 250-181(31-30 in the postseason) and his teams made the Eastern Conference Finals twice. The New York Knicks, who are in the process of searching for a head coach, apparently have reached out to Frank Vogel and his representatives to gauge interest.
Based on what’s been reported and speculated I can’t help but feel like Vogel being a candidate is kind of just due diligence and he doesn’t have a real shot at the job. Phil has said, on the record, that he wants somebody he knows very well.
“Only people I probably know will be in the interview process,” Jackson said Thursday. “I will reach out to make connections to some people. But I’ve been in this position, in the NBA over 50 years, and I’ve seen a lot of situations where coaches end up coming in without simpatico with the general manager, and those things don’t work well. So someone who has compatibility with what I do as a leader would have to be in sync with what we do.”
Vogel isn’t a part of Jackson’s coaching tree but he did work for Jackson as an advanced scout on the 2005-06 Lakers. We will see how much weight that holds with Jackson.
In my eyes, Vogel is the second good candidate the Knicks have been linked to in the process with David Blatt being the other one. I’d be fine with either of them and the choice between them is a matter of preference. Basically I’d be happy with damn near anybody that isn’t named Kurt Rambis. I’ll touch more on him later.
As referenced earlier, Vogel won 58% of the games he coached for the Pacers. The Pacers also ranked in the top 10 in defense for the last four years of his tenure. On the flip side, the Pacers finished 20th in points per possession on the offensive side of the ball over the last three years.
Vogel is perfect by no means, but he did help mold an identity in Indiana that seemed to fit its personnel and got good results. They gave the Heat all they could handle twice in that four year stretch and Vogel proved to be somewhat adaptable throughout the course of those deep playoff runs.
Albeit working with a relatively turnover prone team with not many shooters, Vogel helped them somewhat neutralize the Heat’s blitzing defense by using their own aggressiveness against them. They had David West regularly slip screens and get the ball in favorable situations or ended up with Roy Hibbert rolling to the basket with often ended with him one on one with a smaller player. Back then, Hibbert having a one on one with a mouse in the house was a somewhat good thing.
Vogel also oversaw Lance Stephenson looking like a budding young star and TWO all-star appearances out of world renowned useless waste of height, Roy Hibbert. I don’t know how much of that we can attribute to Vogel but they’ve both done absolutely nothing since they left him. Do with that whatever you will.
However, Vogel’s offenses stagnated quite a bit under his watch. Throughout Indiana’s 2014 late season collapse, it often looked like the Pacers just met in the locker room before tip-off. The spacing, more times than not, was akin to that of the spacing in a phone booth and the Pacers treated the basketball like a billionaire treated a penny. The collapse of the 2014 Pacers, who still made the Eastern Conference Finals, is still one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen in sports.
Vogel is an established good NBA head coach who has his flaws but still has room for improvement. He brings a good resume on the defensive side of the ball where the Knicks “boast” the NBA’s worst defense over the last 15 years. His offenses sometimes leave a lot to be desired but overall Vogel brings more positives to the table than a lot of coaches. He’d be a good fit for the Knicks and most important of all he isn’t Kurt Rambis. That’s just the cherry on top of the sundae.
Unfortunately I think Rambis ends up with the job because the President of the team loves him. I mean, it damn sure isn’t the sparkling 28% of games that he’s won as a coach, right?