Oct 7, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; CSKA Moscow head coach Ettore Messina reacts to the play on the court in the third quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. CSKA Moscow defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 108-106 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

Ettore Messina, Inspired Coach Hire

Ettore Messina is a coach that has been under the Laker name before.  Those familiar to the name, recognize his reputation for being an offensive genius.

He was part of the Laker coaching staff from the 2011-2012 season as a consultant alongside Mike Brown.  During his short Laker stint, it seemed his impact with the coaching staff wasn’t impactful.  It seems the organization did not truly engage him in his best qualities.  Mike Brown’s offensive schemes were simple and often catered to isolation situations for Kobe Bryant.  They did not use Pau Gasol’s best qualities as a passer at both the low and high block, nor did they engage Bynum as perfectly as they could have.

Why Messina?  He has a championship background.  Sure, it’s not listed in NBA championships, but it’s not listed in NCAA championships either.  He is one of the elite coaches of the European leagues.

His accomplishments include:


One of the best things about Messina is, he takes the roster, with specific talent, and builds an offensive system around them.

Our coaching staff spends a lot of time trying to figure out how we can utilize the best characteristics of our players on offense. This is a long process and sometimes we can’t find an exact role for each of our players right away. We strongly believe that, beyond the offensive choices, we have to take care of the players’ improvement, putting them into the best conditions to be dangerous on offense: we want to be effective using the players’ skills.

Some may say that the most recent coaching staff that won championships for the Lakers, was rigid with the triangle offense.  That is understandable.  The triangle offense was built to cater to player’s strengths.  It put players into specific roles, but maximized the scoring opportunities for the best scorers on the team.  Sure, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant were dominant scorers, but the rest of the team usually chipped in with 5-12 points per game.  When ran properly, everyone had touches.  When ran properly, the Lakers controlled the tempo of the game, without a true point guard.

Mike D’Antoni’s style would be successful too, but it is based around speed and two specific positions, the center and point guard.  Unfortunately, in the Lakers’ case, those aren’t the best positions on the team.

Like the triangle offense, Messina also shares a common philosophy with Tex Winter’s offensive style.

Rather, is was the ability of our players to understand what the defense was doing and to always be conscious of any changes that they were making. Our players must be able to read the defensive behavior of their opponents.

Messina is a known name around the NBA circles.  He has proven to win championships in multiple European leagues spanning over a decade.  He can be a guy to tie in what the Lakers do best, and have it executed on the offensive end.  His teams are known for being tough and efficient.

The league has changed into a more European flavor style of offense.  Transition play, point guard play, and guard skills at front-court positions are maximized well on the floor.  Why not acquire a coach that excels at the new NBA style of offense, but catering to the players’ strengths at the same time?  That’s the kind of dynamic coach the Lakers need.  Best of all, that is the kind of dynamic play that earns respect from the Laker players.

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