The search for the Houston Rockets' 16th coach has made significant traction, as the Rockets have already conducted interviews with Toronto Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin, Phoenix Suns assistant Kevin Young, and former Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel.
Of those names, Vogel has stood out the most to the Rockets thus far, at least according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, who said as much on ESPN's NBA Countdown.
"I'm told he was very impressive to the people in Houston. He's going to be brought back again."
Wojnarowski later added that Vogel is very much in the mix to become the Rockets' next coach.
The Rockets have already deemed it necessary to give Vogel a second interview, becoming the first such candidate to reach that stage.
Why Houston Rockets fans should be excited at the possibility of landing Frank Vogel
The Rockets being impressed by Vogel is a rather good thing, as his brilliance on the defensive end of the floor would have a profound impact on a Rockets team that has finished no better than 27th in defensive efficiency dating back to 2020-21.
Anyone watching the Rockets this past season noticed a rather unfortunate trend of opposing players reaching career-highs in scoring against the Rockets, including Damian Lillard (71 points), Lauri Markannen (49 points), and Immanuel Quickley (40 points). Clearly opposing players salivated at the idea of facing the Rockets.
This would certainly not be the case with Vogel in the big chair. Look no further than the NBA bubble, when Vogel's former Lakers faced off against the Rockets.
And concerns about Vogel's inability to spear a rebuild are overblown. Remember, Vogel took over an Indiana Pacers team that won just 32 games in 2009-10 and got off to a 17-27 start in 2010-11 before naming him the interim coach and giving him the official title of head coach that following offseason, after guiding the team to a 20-18 record. Vogel's Pacers made the postseason in four of his five seasons in Indianapolis, reaching the Eastern Conference Finals in consecutive seasons, ranking first in defensive efficiency in both years.
We don't even have to look further than the coaching job he did with the Los Angeles Lakers, as that was also a rebuild. Sure, the Lakers had LeBron James but they missed the playoffs in James' first season, winning just 37 games and ranking 10th in the West.
Vogel's first season in Los Angeles saw the Lakers post a 52-19 record, first in the West, and win a championship. The Lakers ranked third in defensive efficiency that season also.
Now you may be saying "well what about his coaching stint in Orlando?" Vogel went 54-110 in two seasons with the Magic before the franchise decided to part ways with the coach.
But what we know about the NBA is that it's a star-driven league. You need starpower to give yourself a chance.
Which is why the Rockets wanted to reel in a big fish this offseason, to help them become a contender next season.
Two of Vogel's best players in Orlando were Evan Fournier and Terrance Ross, both of whom are role players. Nikola Vucevic was Orlando's best overall player and...well, let's just say it's not necessarily a great sign if Vucevic is the best player on your team.
Vogel's aforementioned Pacers squad had former All-Stars David West and Danny Granger, in addition to Defensive Player of the Year finalist Roy Hibbert, along with Paul George, who was a rising star.
And the Lakers were led by James and Anthony Davis. Point being, that Magic team was doomed from the start.
Granted, Vogel will need an elite offensive assistant, as that's not his niche, but a championship coach should be able to concoct a good coaching staff.
All in all, Vogel landing a second interview is a good for this young Rockets group, as the Rockets could do much worse.