New Lakers coach Vogel calls for 'togetherness'

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said forging a sense of "togetherness" would be crucial as he attempts to halt six years of failure at the franchise.

Vogel, who was chosen to replace the fired Luke Walton, arrives at the Lakers with the club reeling from the shock departure of executive Magic Johnson last month.

Johnson on Monday blamed a culture of "backstabbing" for his departure in comments made just before Vogel's unveiling.

Vogel, 45, said he planned to unify the franchise, from the front office through to the coaching and playing staff.

"We need to build togetherness with our organization," the former Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic coach said.

"I don't just mean with the 17 guys that are going to be in uniform. I'm talking about organizational togetherness.

"Starting with ownership to the front office to the coaching staff, to the players to the trainers, the business side.

"We are all going to be pulling in the same direction... You can accomplish amazing things if everybody is together.

"Playing a together brand of basketball with also be emphasized on a daily basis. We're going to be unselfish. We're going to play by trusting the pass, creating for others with the basketball.

"Defensively, communicating, talking to each other and covering for each other, working together. It starts organizationally wide, translates onto the basketball court, and I've seen it. When it happens, you win big.

"And that's going to be a big part of what we're trying to accomplish here."

Vogel meanwhile steered clear of offering any predictions for the Lakers.

The team has missed the playoffs for six straight seasons but are desperate to challenge for top honours once more after signing LeBron James last year.

"The focus for our group has got to be to remain in the moment," Vogel said. "There's obviously been a lot of outside noise that we're going to be tasked with blocking out.

"There's going to be a lot of talk about getting our team back into the playoffs, and what the Lakers represent in terms of a tradition of competing for championships.

"Those are end result things. We are going to be focused on the work... Focus on the task at hand, and then those accolades, those achievements, those results, they will come."