Now just imagine if the Suns could put it all together.
Fear not, Phoenix fans. That is something new coach Frank Vogel said is the goal.
“The first thing I can apply is direct belief,” Vogel told reporters at his introductory press conference. “Now because I’ve done it, I’ve been a part of it. If the talent is in place, that you can galvanize a group and take the league by storm.”
Vogel takes over for Monty Williams, who took the Suns to the Finals the season after the Lakers won the title. But it’s been two straight disappointing playoff exits since then. So new owner Mat Ishbia and GM James Jones felt a change could inject new life into the roster.
“I just felt we needed an injection of a different voice, a different energy. It’s really that simple,” Jones said. “And as we evaluated where we were and where we wanted to go, we just saw a gap and we needed to fill it.”
Vogel has always been a defensive-minded coach, dating back to his days coaching the Paul George-led Pacers to the Eastern Conference finals. He intends to instill the same principles with the Suns.
“The No. 1 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.”
Not long after taking the job, Vogel added former Knicks and Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale to the staff of assistants. Fizdale had been working in the Jazz front office. Also, the Suns retained Kevin Young, who had been a candidate for Vogel’s job, as well as several other head-coaching positions around the NBA.
“You need a lot of luck and you need some breaks along the way, but I feel like the foundation is in place,” Vogel said. “We’ve got to just make some moves around the edges.”