3 times Frank Vogel tried to tell Suns' fans something was wrong this season

Phoenix Suns' head coach Frank Vogel has come under the microscope after a poor season but if you read between the lines, he was telling us this team had problems.
Minnesota Timberwolves v Phoenix Suns - Game Four
Minnesota Timberwolves v Phoenix Suns - Game Four / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
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With the Phoenix Suns the first team eliminated from playoff contention, much has already been said about the state of the franchise heading into a massive offseason. We've had unfounded Devin Booker rumors, while owner Mat Ishbia held a bizarrely upbeat press conference about the state of the organization.

As is so often the case when a team with high expectations doesn't work out, head coach Frank Vogel now finds his position under scrutiny. This despite doing all that he could with the top-heavy deck he was given. With Booker the franchise player, Kevin Durant in The Valley less than two full seasons and Bradley Beal having a no-trade clause, Vogel is the easiest option to change.

But if you read between the lines of some of coach Vogel's comments and lineup decisions throughout the season, you'll see he was telling us something was wrong.

Coach Vogel is an even-keeled guy in front of the media, and also no stranger to being put into tough spots and forced to make a situation work. He did just that back in 2020, leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a championship and helping LeBron James get his fourth ring.

Only when the front office in Los Angeles let some key contributors go and they instead trade for Russell Westbrook did Vogel run into trouble, just like any other coach would have. The team failed to deliver and he became the fall guy and was eventually fired. Sound familiar? Here are three times coach Vogel tried to show us through his words and actions that all was not right this season.

3. Durant at the five

Playing Durant at the center position made sense, because it allowed the Suns to go smaller against certain opponents. As a result of injury and trading for Royce O'Neale at the deadline we never got to see this in full flow, but the idea of Booker, Beal, O'Neale, Grayson Allen and Durant on the court together sounds like a good one offensively in theory.

Only Durant ended up spending some minutes there during the regular season, meaning he banged bodies with bigger guys when keeping him healthy and away from the paint should have been the priority. Make no mistake - Durant should get All-Defense consideration and he was brilliant in that role - but Vogel was trying to tell us about the bigger problems on this roster.

Namely that there was no size outside of Jusuf Nurkic, and no skilled size at all. Drew Eubanks was the backup big - and although Anthony Edwards appeared to have a soft spot for him - the lack of center depth was badly exposed by the Timberwolves in the playoffs.

When all you've got is Nurkic, Eubanks and Durant to go against Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns inside, you know you're in trouble. Vogel playing Durant at the five during the regular season was his way of telling us he needed more help to fill out the big man rotation, and he knew he wasn't going to get it. That is part of the reason they got swept by the Timberwolves.