Monty Williams has been considered one of the top head coaches in the NBA for years but as NBA rumors were starting to spread the Phoenix Suns pulled off a surprise when they fired him following their playoff loss to the Denver Nuggets. Fair or not, the Suns made their choice and have moved on. They now have their replacement in-house.
According to NBA breaking news, Phoenix is hiring former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel. The veteran coach has been a candidate for a number of head coaching jobs since he was fired by Los Angeles and now he’s landing one of the most interesting. Though the Suns have been a consistent playoff team for three-straight seasons, there’s some risk taking the job.
BREAKING: The Suns are planning to hire Frank Vogel as the franchise’s next coach, sources tell ESPN. Sides are starting work on a long-term deal. Vogel brings with him a 2020 NBA title and history of constructing high-level defenses. pic.twitter.com/csF6bO8Bp7
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 2, 2023
The trio of Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, and Devin Booker is among the best in the NBA but the depth behind them is nonexistent. DeAndre Ayton is another expensive piece but he’s difficult to work with and coming off of a lackluster year. He could be traded in order to add some more depth.
The Suns are reportedly hiring Frank Vogel to become their new head coach ☀️
Vogel famously led the Lakers to the 2020 NBA Championship in the bubble.
He takes over a roster which includes Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton. pic.twitter.com/cT7NG7UKAv
— Covers (@Covers) June 2, 2023
Now, Vogel has been thrust into an awkward situation before and thrived. When he replaced Luke Walton on the Lakers in 2019, the team looked like a disaster. Magic Johnson abruptly resigned from his position as vice president of basketball operations and the team gave up a massive package of players and picks to land Anthony Davis in a trade. The Lakers were about to hire Ty Lue as head coach before pulling the deal and going with Vogel.
Instead of adding to the drama, Vogel provided a calming presence. He’s as professional as any coach in the league and one of the best defensive minds around. The Suns aren’t exactly where the Lakers were in 2019 but they are a messy team. They finished seventh in the NBA in defensive rating last season but traded away their best defender Mikal Bridges in the Durant deal. They don’t have as much defensive talent as they did at the beginning of last season.
I think Frank Vogel was probably the coach that made the most sense for the Suns to get.
A defensive-minded coach with championship experience. That’s what they need on this team.
You have Booker & Durant. Offense will be easy, but defense will be what wins them a championship.
— Suns Are Better (@SunsAreBetter) June 2, 2023
Vogel is such a strong defensive mind that he should be able to get the Suns to play competitive defense. However, they do need to add some pieces this offseason. Vogel won a championship in his first year in Los Angeles so he has proven he can be part of a quick turnaround. That’s likely why the Suns wanted to bring him in. It’s not going to take him a year or two to build a culture that’s ready to win.
This isn’t going to be an easy job for Vogel. Durant has gotten a lot of coaches run out of town over his career. He has to make sure he can get along with the team’s biggest star. Also, Paul could be nearing the end of his career after dealing with another serious injury that made NBA news headlines earlier in the playoffs. The Suns have the talent to go on a run if they stay healthy but Vogel is going to have to work some magic to get the defense playing at a high level. It’s worth noting that he may be able to poach some top coaching talent from the Lakers to add to his staff in Phoenix.