What Type of Coach do the Lakers Need?

When Mike D’Antoni resigned as the Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, it was like a gift for the front office. The resignation saved the Lakers the embarrassment of having to fire their 2nd coach in two years or having to trot D’Antoni out as a lame duck for another season. Clearly his style had worn fans and many of the players out. The randomness of the rotations, the de-emphasis of defense, and the idea that maybe, just maybe his style caused the Lakers injuries all made D’Antoni the scapegoat for this season. 

The only certainty for the Lakers is that Kobe Bryant will be on this team for the next two seasons. The Kobe-D’Antoni marriage was never perfect. The uptempo style of D’Antoni never fit into how Kobe wanted to play. While ball movement and avoiding the post were D’Antoni’s staples, Kobe wants, and needs, to play out of the post. Slow it down and work methodically. While Mike Brown’s offense was criticized (rightfully so), the slower style is more beneficial for an aging superstar.

Lakers fans may have enjoyed watching the 2013-14 squad shoot a ridiculous amount of three pointers, it didn’t translate to victories and led to some of the most embarrassing losses in franchise history. With the NBA Draft and Free Agency on the horizon, the Lakers will be able to mold their team to fit whatever coach is chosen to lead this team in the future. The most important aspect of a new coach being brought in is a new culture being instilled in the team.

D’Antoni was never truly able to get everyone to buy into what he was selling. Steve Nash was supposed to help ease the transition and show the others just how devastating D’Antoni’s offense could be if executed correctly. But Nash hasn’t been healthy during his time with the Lakers. With Gasol and Dwight, the Lakers couldn’t run the system D’Antoni wanted without alienating one of his All-Star big men. He ended up losing both. The new coach needs to have the respect of the team and the ear of Kobe Bryant.

With these criteria, what will the ideal new coach possess? First off, they need to have an impressive resume. Having the weight behind having won an NBA or NCAA title as a head coach or assistant, would be a good start. Secondly, this coach needs to understand and have a willingness to commit to defense. Think of great defensive teams in the NBA – the Heat, the Spurs, the Pacers, the Clippers – all have coaches who have instilled a culture of emphasis on defense. Lastly, the coach must be able to leave his imprint on the organization. The last Lakers’ coach who was able to do that was Phil Jackson, and the Lakers experienced unbelievable levels of success under his guidance.

The past few years have seen the Lakers wildly try to find something that works. Mike Brown wasn’t the best candidate when chosen and neither was D’Antoni. This year the Lakers need to stop going with whichever way the wind blows. How many team’s are able to win championships when coaches don’t last more than a couple seasons? Stability and leadership are lacking in the Lakers. This head coaching search is a chance for the Lakers to make some real progress.

Tags: Lakers Coach Los Angeles Lakers

  • stucktrader

    That Mike Brown hire still confuses me to this day… when you have proven guys like Adelman, Sloan (although a longshot)… Shaw (continuity)…

    • Dino Madness

      Actually Rick Adelman was Mitch’s choice but Jim Buss over rule him and chose Mike Brown.

    • Mike Garcia

      Brown was chosen with a mindblowing interview. So good, that Buss bypassed the entire remaining list of coaches to interview.

  • J Taylor

    Wanted: Head Coach
    Must be able to handle superstars, big games, big media markets, groom talent, and consistently win.

  • hookedonnews

    I don’t see anyone out there that meets that criteria.

    • borsalino12

      Roy Williams, Quin Snyder, Tom Thibodeau, Fred Hoiberg…. just to name a few of them.

      • hookedonnews

        I don’t see a college coach commanding the respect necessary from Kobe Bryant. Coach K might be able to do that, but he’s not an option as far as I know. Hiring a coach with no NBA experience would be a gamble. With the recent track record of coaching hires, I don’t see them taking that gamble. If they do, I think it would be a mistake. Being a great college coach doesn’t automatically make you a great NBA coach.

        As for Thibodeau, he’s not a miracle worker even though he’s a good coach. He’s a defensive specialist. The Lakers don’t have a lot of great defensive players. Having a coach who emphasizes defense is not going to turn Kendall Marshall into a lock-down defender or Gasol into a rim protector. Plus he’s got a contract. It would cost the Lakers to try and get him. Do you think his style would fit LA? I don’t see him as a realistic option. Wouldn’t object to his hiring, but think it’s a long shot at best.

        Don’t see any of those guys being able to leave an imprint on the organization. Maybe there’s some guy out there who can do all those things, but right now I don’t see one on the horizon. And I don’t know that this city has the patience to allow a coach the time to build a team that can meet their expectations.

        • borsalino12

          I agree with you about Thib. He has signed as a head-coach with the Bulls in 2010 and for 4 years has done nothing.I am wondering why so many people are talking about him. I would never send our lottery pic and several more 1-st rounder to this stupid organization to free them from this underachiever. No way.
          As for the other names, yes, there is a risk, but we have no choice. We have to gamble. Coaches like G.Karl, Van Gandy bros, R.Adelman, J.Sloan or M.Dunleavy are not what we need. We need a coach, who can start from scratch and try to change the philosophy of our FO. Koach K and Roy Williams has done that in another level and they may succeed in the NBA.

          • hookedonnews

            I agree that Coach K would be worth the risk because he’s already proven he can handle NBA players. With Kobe only having a couple of years left, I would be surprised if they took a chance on someone like Roy Williams or anyone else without NBA credentials.

          • borsalino12

            They both built a long-term programs in Duke and the Tar Hills and I am sure, they can do it in NBA too.Kobe is not and should not be a factor of the decision making process, although, he has very big amount of respect to both of them and is in very good relationship.The Lakers need a program builder. There is too many things that have to be changed in this organization, starting with the philosophy and the culture. We need proven coach, who can get the job done in 2-3 years, maximum.

          • hookedonnews

            I agree with most of what you’ve said. I just think coaching in college and coaching in the NBA are different and making that transition is not easy for some coaches. I don’t think Coach K wants to come to the NBA. I don’t know about Roy Williams. John Caliparri (sp?) is a very good college coach but had little success in the NBA. When you go with someone who’s had no NBA experience you’re taking a gamble. Right now the Lakers need stability, and hiring someone who might not be able to handle the job is a risk I wouldn’t take.

          • borsalino12

            OK. What is your choice then? Who can bring that stability to the team? Who can change the culture of this organization? Give me few names, so we can discus in more details.
            From all of the mentioned names of former NBA coaches, I may take only Lionel Hollins. Nobody else fits the bill. My opinion.

          • hookedonnews

            I really don’t have a choice. I’m not high on Hollins although I believe he’s a good coach. All of the ex-NBA coaches being mentioned are good coaches. Any one of them might come in and do a great job. I think the bigger issue is the roster. Good players can make a mediocre coach look good. I wish I could give you the name of someone I believe is the coach who will take this team back to where it needs to be, but I honestly don’t know who fits that bill. Byron Scott seems to be a favorite among some fans, but I’m not convinced that he’s the best coach out there.

          • borsalino12

            Byron is a favorite for some fans, because he is a Laker. He has in his Resume 2 NBA final appearances with the Nets, but… he never won the title. His next stops as a coach in Cleveland and New Orleans were disastrous. The Lakers don’t need a coach, who will take them to the West finals or even to the NBA finals. They would need to hire a coach, who can get them over the hump. That is what it counts in the Lakers land. James Worthy, Magic Johnson, Kareem and Jerry West are already rooting for Byron and it doesn’t look very good to me.He is not the coach we need.

  • mthashp

    “The most important aspect of a new coach being brought in is a new culture being instilled in the team.” I agree wholeheartedly.

    I’d like to see the Lakers pursue Coach Thibs if the price is right, but Byron Scott makes the most sense on all counts of my scorecard. He’s a defensive-minded head coach who turned a franchise around and went to back-to-back Finals. Plus, Scott’s a Lakers Great and close friend of Bryant, which is no small feat. Am I missing something here?

  • Marty Susman

    If we are all honest with each other we know the Lakers will NOT win a ring in the next two years. (Sorry Kobe) The Lakers will not be a great team again until after the players come on board after the 2015 free agents so any coach will lose more then win until the following year meaning they need a coach that the fan’s will stay behind…. OK, who should that be, who could keep the fans happy while losing, who could keep Kobe happy while losing, those are the real questions as far as a future coach is concerned…… I believe the best way for them to go is to hire Byron Scott as the head guy & D. Fish, K. Rambus & Kareem as asst. That group of three X players who the city loved would keep everyone happy until 2016 season….You could forgo Scott & just promote Fish but I am not sure that would be as smart a move as hiring all three of them….

  • borsalino12

    I completely agree with “mthashp”. The new Lakers coach has to be able to change the culture not only of the team, but of the entire organization.He has to be a program installer and to work on it in the next several years. We don’t need another M.Brown or M.D’Antoni like coach for a short term, that is why, Sloan, Karl, Adelman and the Gandy bros are not good fit.

  • http://batman-news.com Otis60

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – The only coach who can have success with the Lakers is the one who can convince Kobe to tear up his cap-killing contract so they can afford to sign a few high-quality veterans. Otherwise, whoever gets hired to coach this team needs to be someone who can develop the talented guys we’ll get with the high draft picks we’ll be getting for the next 3 years…Healthy or not, Kobe is no longer talented enough to carry a team as weak as this to the playoffs, let alone a title, and it’s not really going to matter who the coach is. As my high school coach used to say, youcan’t make ice cream out of horsesh*t…