The Orlando Magic's coach Frank Vogel started his head coaching career in 2011 with the Indiana Pacers, frequently butting heads against the Miami Heat's coach Erik Spoelstra since then. During the tenure of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh, the Pacers with Paul George and Roy Hibbert, managed to give Miami a hard fought game every time, despite the difference in talent.
The highlights or low lights, depending on your view, were two intense series in the Eastern Conference Finals, especially the seven-game classic in 2013.
Vogel’s first season in Orlando didn’t produce any magic with the team finishing a disappointing 29-53. Inexplicably they managed to win 3 out of 4 games from the Heat during the season. Never count a Vogel-coached team out when it comes to battling the Miami Heat. He talks openly about adapting to the NBA style of today.
Now, with the 2017-18 season approaching, Vogel says he’s committed to modernizing his approach. He’ll continue to rely on more agile lineups that feature more shooting and will rely on defenders who can switch effectively when opposing teams set screens.
“I hopefully can achieve, obviously on a much lesser level, a shift like Pat Riley experienced when he had Showtime with the Lakers and won big in a completely different style of play with a completely different team,” Vogel said. “I’m hopeful I can do it here.”
Whoever the players may be on either side, Frank Vogel knows how to make the game challenging against Spoelstra. This opening day's contest should be no different from other Spoelstra-Vogel duels: a closely contested battle between two of the NBA's best coaches. And after competing for 7 years they practically know the other’s habits better than their own.