Frank Vogel: When You Play the Los Angeles Lakers, 'You're Going to Get Smashed in the Mouth' - Lakers Daily

Frank Vogel: When You Play the Los Angeles Lakers, ‘You’re Going to Get Smashed in the Mouth’

Frank Vogel Lakers Robert Hanashiro / USA TODAY Sports

The look of the Los Angeles Lakers will be changing during the first season with Frank Vogel as their head coach. That’s because the team will bring a mindset to the court that strongly emphasizes physicality and defense.

During the Lakers’ first practice, an intrasquad scrimmage showed off plenty of contact between players. That aggressive approach to playing the game is something that Vogel expects to see on the defensive side of the ball.

“You’re coming to play [the] L.A. Lakers — you’re going to get hit,” Vogel said. “You’re going to get smashed in the mouth.”

Two examples of more frequent contact surfaced when LeBron James and Alex Caruso collided and fell, with Dwight Howard and Anthony Davis doing the same while battling for a rebound.

During his time as head coach with the Indiana Pacers, Vogel gained a reputation for having strong defensive squads. That’s one reason why those tumbles by Lakers players made him happy.

“I love guys hitting the floor,” Vogel continued. “We’re not playing hard enough if we’re not doing that, but obviously you don’t want to see anybody getting hurt.”

Injuries did prove to be devastating to the Lakers’ postseason hopes last year. Vogel is aware that the team ranked 24th in the league on offense as opposed to their 13th spot on defense, but remains committed to emphasizing the value of the latter side of the ball.

“You know, we got a lot of firepower offensively,” Vogel said. “But establish that defensive mindset of playing hard and playing tenacious and being physical. And on offense, just beginning to get organized and talking about the importance of playing for each other.”

The first opportunity the Lakers will have to show off their new approach against another NBA team comes Saturday. That’s when they play the first of four preseason games against the Golden State Warriors, with the opening clash marking the Warriors’ first-ever game in the new Chase Center.

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