LSL Roundtable: The Future of the Lakers

4 of 5

Who is the Lakers head coach next season?

Booth – That seems to be the million dollar question. One thing I can say for almost absolute certainty; not Mike D’Antoni. I could go into a full column as to why his tenure as Lakers head coach has been nothing short of a disaster, but for the sake of time and space, I’ll be shocked if the first change the Lakers make when the season is over isn’t a coaching change. As for who will replace him, that is an entirely different matter, as there aren’t many great coaches available. With the Lakers in full rebuild mode, let’s assume they will go with a young coach, who they can build a system with. That rules out established vets Byron Scott, George Karl and Avery Johnson (all of whom I considered at some point this season). I’m going to go far out on a limb here, and suggest the Lakers go the route the Brooklyn Nets just did. One name: Derek Fisher.

Fisher is a Laker fan favorite (myself included), and is finishing his playing career with the Thunder. He enjoyed the most success of his playing career with the Lakers, a key part of 5 championship teams, and was often cited as the voice of reason in the locker-room. He was also always singled out as one of the leaders on the court, and, most importantly, is/was one of the only players/teammates Kobe Bryant ever listened to.

Burden – George Karl (perhaps, it’s a tricky one).

Lopez – Not Mike D’Antoni. After this season it would be tough to keep D’Antoni. Nothing against him, but you can’t lose by 48 points to your co-tenants and expect everything to be sunshine and lollipops. It just hasn’t worked, even if D’Antoni isn’t the awful coach everyone makes him out to be. I’d like the Lakers to follow the Celtics and find a young coach that they can mold, instead of re-treading with coaches who have failed in other spots. A few names I’d like to see considered are Mark Few from Gonzaga, Shaka Smart from Virginia Commonwealth, and Sean Miller at Arizona.

Hicks – The Lakers need to stop trying to find a retread coach. When they passed on Rick Adelman they gave up any chance at a smooth transition from Phil Jackson. They were right to pass on Bryan Shaw even though he was a sentimental favorite. Mike Brown and then Mike D’Antoni were just bad fits. I feel bad for D’Antoni because he actually did a good job in some ways, rejiggering the team on the fly constantly due to injury. On the other hand he was a big reason players were getting hurt in the first place. Giving Kobe 32 minutes each in 3 games in 4 nights led to his knee injury. He did the same thing with Farmar in his first game back from a tearing his hamstring the first time. The Lakers should swing for the fences and hire Derek Fisher. He’s the next great NBA coach if he chooses to do it.

Garcia – The next Laker coach needs to be someone with some background.  The fans can get behind a guy like that.  There are two options here; Lionel Hollins who helped the Grizzlies overachieve last season, prided on post play and defense, or Jerry Sloan, who I don’t think it’s doing anything, but has a history of discipline, offensive structure, and defensive toughness.  Laker fans want what these guys have to offer.

Morales – George Karl as the next coach. Anyone who has beat back cancer and coached Carmelo, Iverson, Gary Payton and Ray Allen and Shawn Kemp can handle Kobe and the Lakers pressure.

Rude – This won’t be an issue of young coach vs. established coach. This will be an issue of funding someone who Kobe Bryant approves of. Like it or not, his seal of approval will dictate whether the fanbase. The list of those would be short: George Karl, Byron Scott, Derek Fisher, Jerry Sloan. There could be a couple other possibilities, but I think it comes down to the wildcard Fisher or the established vet Karl.