5 Reasons the Lakers should make a run at Kenny Atkinson for head coach

The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly considering hitting the refresh button on the coaching search. If true, Kenny Atkinson should be added to the list.
2022 NBA Finals - Game Six
2022 NBA Finals - Game Six / Elsa/GettyImages
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2. Player development specialist

The Los Angeles Lakers are looking for a head coach who can develop the younger players on the roster while helping Anthony Davis and LeBron James remain competitive. It's a delicate balance to strike, but the emphasis being placed on sustainability is refreshing.

If there's one note that continues to be sung about Atkinson, it's that he ranks among the best player development specialists in the NBA.

As a head coach, Atkinson played a significant role in the development of key players such as Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, Caris LeVert, and D'Angelo Russell. He takes a hands-on approach in that regard, investing in his players as people and taking a unique approach to practice.

NBA veteran Garrett Temple spoke about how Atkinson is in drills, telling Alex Schiffer of The Athletic that he's never seen anything like the way his former coach runs practices.

"“I’ve never seen anything like it before,” Temple said. “Gets into drills, runs the point guard, or the two or three, tries to jump in and do verticality drills, gets dunked on all the time. But a guy that is so invested, he really enjoys doing things like this. I’ve never seen anything in terms of a coach being in a drill like Kenny is.”"

That type of praise has been a consistent theme throughout Atkinson's career. A former player, he coaches with enthusiasm, seemingly finding genuine joy in helping his team learn more about the game they're playing, and subsequently, themselves.

It's why the likes of Spencer Dinwiddie, D'Angelo Russell, and Jeff Teague have all spoken publicly about Atkinson's willingness to adapt his system to the strengths of his players.

Depending on how player options and trades play out, that could make Atkinson the perfect coach for the likes of Max Christie, Rui Hachimura, Jalen Hood-Schifino, and D'Angelo Russell.

It could also extend the careers of Davis and James.