Phoenix Suns: A Defensive Journey
Behind every statistic lies a compelling story. Let’s delve into the narratives that shape the Phoenix Suns’ defensive journey.
Indiana Pacers: Vogel’s Early Success
Frank Vogel’s coaching career took off as an assistant with the Boston Celtics under Jim O’Brien in 2001-02. He then followed O’Brien to the Philadelphia 76ers and eventually landed with the Indiana Pacers in 2007-08.
Vogel’s first full season as head coach of the Pacers came in 2011-12. Taking over from his mentor, Vogel led the team to a 9-3 record in the first 12 games. The Pacers boasted an impressive defensive rating of 96.0, ranking 4th in the league at the time.
With stalwarts like Danny Granger and Roy Hibbert, Vogel solidified the team’s defensive strategies and guided them to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, finishing with the 9th best defensive rating in the league.
Orlando Magic: A Challenging Rebuild
Vogel’s next stop was with the Orlando Magic in the 2016-17 season. The team underwent significant roster changes, centering their efforts around young talents like Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier.
Despite a 5-7 record in the first 12 games, Vogel faced an uphill battle due to the lack of talent surrounding his key players. The Magic finished the season with a 22nd defensive rating in the league, but Vogel’s tenure in Orlando was short-lived.
Los Angeles Lakers: The LeBron and Davis Era
Vogel took a break in the 2018-19 season before joining the Los Angeles Lakers. With the acquisition of Anthony Davis and a revamped roster, the Lakers started the 2019-20 season with a bang.
In the first 12 games, the Lakers boasted a 10-2 record and a league-leading defensive rating of 100.0. Vogel’s defensive prowess combined with the star power of LeBron James and Anthony Davis propelled the team to win the NBA Championship in the Orlando Bubble.
Phoenix Suns: A New Challenge
Now, Vogel faces a new challenge with the Phoenix Suns. The team currently holds a 6-6 record through the first 12 games of the 2023-24 season.
With an opposing points per game average of 113.7 and a defensive rating of 115.5, the Suns have room for improvement. However, unlike Vogel’s previous experiences, the Suns have the advantage of a relatively healthy roster.
While the early numbers may not meet expectations, it’s important to consider the variables at play. The Suns are only 15% into the season, and there is still plenty of time for Vogel to implement his defensive schemes and turn things around.
History has shown that a team’s performance after 12 games often mirrors their final standing. Only time will tell if Vogel can guide the Suns to defensive success. Let’s stay tuned.
Phoenix Suns’ Defensive Struggles: Can Frank Vogel Turn Things Around?
Every situation is different. Every season is different. Every roster is different. James Jones and the Phoenix Suns hired Frank Vogel this past offseason with the difficult task of adding a defensive element to an offensively top-heavy roster that includes 13 new players. Given Vogel’s history of defensive success, it seemed like an ideal fit for the Suns. However, the team has stumbled out of the gate, going 6-6 to start the 2023-24 campaign.
One of the main challenges Vogel has faced is the absence of key players due to injuries. Bradley Beal has played in only three games and is currently sidelined with a lower back strain. Devin Booker has also missed eight games at the beginning of the season. Additionally, the team’s lack of continuity on offense and defense has further complicated matters.
To understand Vogel’s performance in his first 12 games with a new team, let’s take a look at his previous coaching experiences. In 2011, Vogel took over as head coach of the Indiana Pacers and led them to a 9-3 record in his first 12 games. The team ranked third in opposing points per game (88.9) and fourth in defensive rating (96.0). Vogel had the advantage of a relatively stable roster, with players like Danny Granger and Roy Hibbert leading the way.
However, Vogel’s next coaching stint with the Orlando Magic in 2016 presented a different challenge. The team underwent significant roster turnover, with 13 new players joining the squad. In his first 12 games, the Magic had a 5-7 record and ranked 10th in opposing points per game (100.9) and 22nd in defensive rating (108.0). Despite the struggles, Vogel managed to guide the team to a 29-53 record that season.
In 2019, Vogel joined the Los Angeles Lakers, a team that had made significant offseason moves, including acquiring Anthony Davis. The Lakers started the season strong, going 10-2 in Vogel’s first 12 games. They ranked third in opposing points per game (100.6) and first in defensive rating (100.0). Vogel’s defensive strategies, combined with the star power of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, propelled the Lakers to win the NBA Championship in the Orlando Bubble.
Now, Vogel faces a similar challenge with the Phoenix Suns. The team has a 6-6 record through 12 games, ranking 17th in opposing points per game (113.7) and 20th in defensive rating (115.5). However, the Suns’ situation is unique as Vogel must navigate the variables of injuries and a roster with 13 new players. The team’s performance will ultimately depend on how Vogel can deploy his defensive schemes and build chemistry among the players.
It’s important to remember that the season is still in its early stages, and the Suns have plenty of time to improve. As Vogel has shown in the past, where a team stands after 12 games often mirrors its final position