There will be many things that the Lakers will not be able to control about this coming off-season. Uncertainty surrounds the expiring collective bargaining agreement. Other teams needs will dicatate what players will be available via free agency and trade to improve the roster. And, of course, there’s always what the brain-trust of this team actually feels is the right path to proceed down in trying to help them get back to championship form. A lot of what happens this off-season will depend not only on what the Lakers want, but what the league and players agree to and what other teams front offices think is best for their teams. When viewed this way, the Lakers don’t have a lot of control in how their off-season unfolds.
The one thing the Lakers can control is their search for a head coach. There will be no league or union action to interfere; no opposing GM to sweet talk. The Lakers simply have to interview the people on their short list, make an offer, and hire their guy. Obviously there are logistics involved that I’ve not mentioned, but you get my point. The Lakers are a premier franchise with championship caliber players on their roster; this is a marquee job. They’ll make a choice and get their guy, I’m sure of it.
The question is, who will that guy be?
Kevin Ding reports that Mike Dunleavy is a real candidate that needs to be taken seriously. I have many thoughts on this subject, but our old friend Kurt Helin did a good job of summing up some of my same concerns earlier today:
But the shift from Phil Jackson to Dunleavy would be radical. Jackson is a system guy — the triangle offense gives the players freedom and is predicated on players reading the defense and reacting to it, taking what is given them. Dunleavy is a micro-manager with a playbook, he calls the plays he wants run from the sideline every time down and expects the players to execute his orders. If Barron Davis chaffed against Dunleavy, how do you think Kobe Bryant is going to react?
This isn’t to completely bury Dunleavy as a coach as he’s had some success in this league. After taking over for Pat Riley, he coached the last run of the Showtime Lakers to a Finals berth against the Bulls in 1991. He coached the Blazers to several successful seasons and deep playoff runs in the late 90’s early 2000’s. His stint with the Clippers ended terribly, but he also took them to the playoffs when he harnessed the games of Sam Cassell and Elton Brand to a first round win and a Raja Bell corner three away from putting the Suns on the brink in the second round. I’m not endorsing him to be the next sideline man for this Laker group, but the man can coach and his past experience with the Lakers lends a familiarity that can’t be totally dismissed.
That said, if the Lakers are going to look to the past for a coach, there’s more than one way to look at and learn from history. I’ll let commenter Jodial, in supporting Brian Shaw, explain:
I have no idea whether Brian Shaw will make a great head coach or not, but I would sure hate it if he turned out to be one for a team other than the Lakers. For years, Mike Scioscia was the clear heir apparent to manage the Dodgers. People talked about his special leadership ability and his knowledge of the game. He had a championship career as a Dodger player, albeit in a supportive role, and he embodied the Dodger style of baseball (when it was still a winning style!) Unfortunately, ownership frittered away the chance to promote him and give him his first job, instead going with a long and forgettable series of retreads in the manager’s position, while watching Scioscia move across town and bring the old Dodger style to the Angels, with all the success that had been predicted for him. I’d just hate to see that happen with Brian Shaw…
He then adds:
The Lakers have actually been down a similar road before, exactly 30 years ago. That’s when an assistant with zero head coaching experience came in to lead a Laker roster that featured a mix of aging veterans and young stars, and that had flamed out spectacularly in the playoffs (in the first round!) the year after winning it all. Pat Riley did a pretty good job with that Laker team that year. And in the years to come too.
This support of Shaw doesn’t speak to his ability to diagram a play. Nor does it guarantee that Shaw will be able to get through to the players successfully. But it does show that choosing an assistant coach with no history of being a head man has actually worked out in the past for this organization. (For what it’s worth, Dunleavy was also an assistant with no head coaching history before he took over for Riles.)
While the potential lockout, new CBA, and other teams’ wants/needs will shape how the Lakers attack personnel moves, this act of choosing their next sideline steward will be just as important as any roster change that can happen. There will be several strong candidates to choose from and the Lakers’ history of success and ready made roster dictate that the correct decision be made now. I only hope that their trademark patience leads them to explore all options from all angles before making their decision.
Thanks for the spotlight Darius!
I’ll also add that when Riley took over in ’81-’82, that Laker team was perceived to have major problems with team chemistry (Kareem was starting to decline, Magic and Nixon couldn’t share the basketball, Kareem’s halfcourt game wasn’t a good match for Magic’s uptempo style of play, etc.)
Riley always maintained that he didn’t change anything from what his predecessor (Westhead) was doing that first season, from an x’s and o’s standpoint. It was just a case of the team responding to a fresh face and remembering what they had been doing when they were a championship squad.
Those are all very interesting parallels to the current situation, I think.
J.D. Hastings says
Shaw makes sense from a continuity standpoint. He knows these guys and they know him. He specifically has the respect and confidence of Kobe and Derek Fisher, going back over a decade. The infamous scene in Phil Jackson’s book about 2004 where Kobe receives a cell phone call in the Finals pregame may be generally mocked, but it’s an example of Shaw and Kobe’s connection, and Shaw’s engagement even while he was not on pay-roll.
First time coaches always struggle with some of the in game strategies- substitution patterns and time Out management as much as Xs and Os, but these are things that can be learned if guys are given the chance (I look at Doc Rivers as an example). Working with a veteran team he understands would give Shaw some of the leeway he’d need to pick these up (leeway that Kurt Rambis has never had working with a group like Minnesota).
The worst case scenario I can see is Shaw never getting the chance to mature as a coach (for instance if he goes to a chaotic warriors team that doesn’t already respect him) while the Lakers hire a “name” coach that doesn’t fit their personnel.
That’s not to say that Shaw can’t succeed elsewhere, or that whoever is brought in won’t succeed for Los Angeles, but I’ve always felt the Shaw hire would be a nice synergy for both sides to transition.
Dunleavy: “Retread” or “Experienced”? Depends on your mood, I guess. It is undeniable that he reeks of the stench of Clipper. Didn’t he sue Sterling? That’s a big plus.
I’m still torn on Shaw. The allure of him being a great coach (and being young, and entrenched in this organization for years to come) is definitely powerful. The Riley comparison makes me cringe if only because Riley was truly a rare breed. Since then, it seems like everyone wants to discover the next “Pat Riley.” Riley is famous for being a master motivator/speaker, which is hard to replicate.
Then part of me realizes that Shaw is renowned for his detailed scouting reports and strong game plans (it was his defensive gameplan that took apart the Magic in 09, for one). He seems to have a good mix of not grating on players, but also not being afraid to get in their faces (challenging the Machine takes cajones).
And then another part of me says – if the master of the triangle offense couldn’t get this team to run the nuances of the offense, if he couldn’t get them to truly commit to the system, how will Shaw get them to do it? Or will their humiliation against Dallas be enough to give them the hunger to truly learn the deeper levels of the offense?
All I can say is, I’m glad I’m not the owner/GM. It’s a really tough call. I still like Adelman the best, but can he coach a championship-level defensive team? (I know he’s had strong defensive teams, but I haven’t looked at any stats so I don’t know how strong). Can Ron Artest really stomach learning a new offense after struggling so much with this one? And does Adelman’s age play a factor? (Personally, I say no – his body is much healthier than Phil’s, and if we’re focused on winning with this group, we don’t need a 10-year coach anyway).
From the last thread…
I just got a text from Jeff Weiss after we laughed over some of the reactions to his article…
“Haha…Thats exactly what I was getting at in the article. The Lakers fans are delusional. They reflexively defend everything. The opposite of the actual Lakers who can’t defend anything.” -Jeff Weiss
One of the reasons I want to see B-Shaw get the job is to retain the other assistant coaches. They may be in the background, but guys like Frank Hamlin and Jim Cleamons deserve some credit for both the Shaq-Kobe championships and the Kobe-Pau championships. Phil certainly didn’t do it alone. These assistants are usually the ones to work with players individually, and I think they’ve built bonds with the players.
5 – I don’t think we were defending against anything other than poor writing. But whatever helps you sleep at night.
Matt – Yeah, the one thing I don’t like about bringing in a new coach is the idea of clearing out our entire coaching staff. Our players know these coaches. Shaking things up that much is risky. I wouldn’t mind if Adelman kept Shaw/Hamblem/Cleamons on his staff, and maybe brought Elson Turner with him. But I don’t like the idea of kicking out all our coaches.
god, you’re cool aaron. you must be really important to know so many people. i wish i were that cool.
Shaw “having earned the shot” should not be a factor; same with roster decisions.
After this season, I don’t know that retention of the current coaching staff is a selling point. I don’t think the staff was the same after the departure of Rambis and Winter.
one issue will be money. it’s one thing to pay phil jackson, it’s another to pay shaw or dunleavy. also, it will also depend on what the lakers plan to do with the team. if they keep it intact, i would think brian shaw would be more likely. if they plan on making big changes, they’ll bring in a new coach. And why do people keep bringing up pat riley? We’ll see the next pat riley the next time a coach has someone like magic, kareem, norm nixon, rambis, wilkes, cooper and macadoo on the same team. (my apologies to eddie jordan).
5. Aaron. Jeff Weiss’s article was in the line of a writer saying, “allow myself, to introduce myself.” His points could have been made with 2/3rds less verbiage and reference to pop culture. I agree with a lot of his points in the article, but didn’t need all the other cheapshots and irrelevant stuff.
Gr8 Scott says
I am definitely not in the camp of supporting Dunleavy. He is a marginally effective coach, if that. He has been just good enough to keep getting other gigs, but I’d take Shaw over him seven days a week and twice on Sunday. This team will have plenty of motivation after the flameout against Dallas and given the likely strike-shortened season.
If you thought I was cool before… Daniel Thomas who was just drafted by te Dolphins to take over at RB is at my place right now.
Sorry. That was for Albert. And yes. That is Jeff Weiss’ style. It’s how he has made it as a professional writer in Los Angeles.
I thought Adelman coached Artest when he was in Houston. If Im not mistaken RonRon spoke highly of Rick coaching during his stay.
15 – Ron loved Adelman in Sacramento and was pleased when he came to Houston. As far as I know, he still thinks highly of Adelman.
kwame a. says
Wanted to voice my displeasure about Jim Buss firing the video staff (Chris Bodaken being there for 18 years as a ball boy, video coordinator and assistant coach to Rudy T) 4 out of the 5 trainers and 5 of the 6 scouts….during the Hornets series. This was a classless move, regardless of the company line about “giving them chances to find new gigs”.
They contributed a lot to our success. Firing them in middle of playoffs must have had some adverse effect, not to mention karma.
5. The only thing this Laker fan was defending was good writing.
Sharky towers says
No Dunleavy!! Holy cow. I can’t believe he’s within a 1000 miles of this job. Adelman is the best option in my mind. Ideally the team would be able to keep Shaw as well. I think this gives the team the best blend of new energy and continuity.
I honestly don’t know a whole lot about Jeff Van Gundy as a coach, but my guess is he would be a good option as well. I’m quite sure he’d be better than Dunleavy.
Sharky towers says
Sorry for the double post, but it really can’t be said enough: Rick Adelman is one of the most underrated coaches in NBA history. He is absolutely on the level of a Pop or Phil from an x’s and o’s perspective. His Blazer teams were great. His Kings run was top notch (and was as exciting a team as we’ve seen in the NBA) and he SEVERELY overachieved with some of those Houston teams.
A bonus is that he’s as good as we’re gonna get in terms of getting something from Artest.
Dunleavy’s a good coach for out-of-control, rebuilding teams. The gravity of his structure weighs down a team after 2 or 3 years. Hiring him for this Laker team would be like starting Derek Fisher in the center spot.
Reading about the possible return of Mike Dunleavy to the Lakers has made my head hurt and caused me to reflect on my 61 years as a Lakers fan (nobody ever was or is better than Elgin Baylor). It is Bryan Shaw’s time!
There comes a time.
The Lakers have had approximately 17 coaches since 1948 and all of them have been Anglos. I will assume that all of them were well qualified because during that time their have been many, many Black coaches in the NBA and none of them have been hired, or probably even interviewed, by the Lakers. Lenny Wilkins was the coach with the most wins in NBA history until recently. Several others have been successful; enough to win NBA championships.
I know that Lakers fans love our team and would rather not even think about a topic like this, but alas, this is the USA and the NBA Players Association does consist of approximately 90% Blacks. So you have to admit that it does seem strange that the most flamboyant, successful and modern franchise, housed in the most liberal state in the U.S., can proudly say we have never had nor probably even considered a Black coach, even though Boston has had 4, Knicks = 4, Mavs = 3, Clippers = 3, Sun = 4.
There comes a time……
I assume you mean other than Magic Johnson.
lol clippers pick they traded to cavs goes to no 1, they really are cursed
I am all for new blood in the NBA and I like the idea of a guy who’s paid his dues in B.Shaw, getting a shot. He has the utmost respect of all the vets so having control of the team would not be an issue. I also think he’d be more open to the team using its athleticism and letting them open it up a bit, when needed. Also, there would be continuity, as other commenters have said, and whether or not the Triangle would be employed, I don’t know. However, with Andrew’s ascenscion, there may be some changes in the focus of the team (or not) this coming year.
I like Adelman a lot too. He did a great job getting stellar results out of a Rocket team that took us to seven infuriating games in the playoffs. He obviously did a good job with the Kings at the turn of the previous decade also. I think he’d be a good choice, but I REALLY want the Lakers to take a chance with a guy who’s paid his dues, who’s served the organization nobly, and who knows the system and the players.
As for Mike Dunleavy, is it possible to play for the Pacers as well as coach the Lakers? Seems like there would be some scheduling hiccups there.
John Morris says
The NBA Lottery special cracked me up. They made it out like a mix of Hollywood Squares and the show where the ladies in bathing suites hold briefcases with unknown sums of cash.
That being said, I’m glad to see the Cavs get the #1 pick. Does anyone else think Lebron James will tweet something about Karma again?
That being said plus one – I’m watching the first minutes of game 1 between the Mavs & OKC and I’m falling into depression looking at Dallas’ starting lineup. Then I remembered the bench matchups and was stricken even sicker knowing that our bench got completely dismantled by the Mavs despite the fact that our bench featured the 6th Man of the Year. My final answer I have refined down to the very inner product that came from watching that travesty of a series is this – The Lakers are still a team capable of competing for a title. What happened here was a team entering the playoffs in the middle of a funky-@$$-funk that, somehow, after heedlessly not finding any rythem while managing to get by NOLA ran into a Dallas team ‘on fire’ that took games 2 & 4 by force. (L.A.S. – Long Ass Sentence) I just keep thinking that if they would have just closed out like they should have in games 1 & 3 they would have been in a series tied 2-2 after taking (what may have been assumed) the Mavs’ best punch. Now I sit here looking at this Dallas team not very impressed at all. Somehow this Dallas team (they deserve every ounce of credit they are receiving) absolutely trounced the Lakers and it’s making me feel like an Emo kid.
Also, FYI I’m getting married this June 11th and bought my dad a pocket watch that has “F–k the Celtics!” inscribed on the inside of the cover. Sickness.
Bigern – No worries, how about Mike Brown or Doc Rivers? Although didn’t Rivers already re-sign with the C’s after some comedy routine/negotiating ploy about taking time off to watch his son play basketball?
Enough of Dunleavy guys. He’s not going to be the next Laker coach.
Shaw is the better choice than Dunleavy. Dunleavy had many chances and he failed, he went to Milwauke, he had the power to build the team but he failed. When he was in Portland, his team was out of control, same thing happened in LA with Clippers. I don’t know why people should give him more chances. If Lakers hire Shaw or Dunleavy, i don’t think Lakers really want to win championship, they just want someone to take care the team, making playoffs, of course they will say yeah we’re going to win championship. The funny thing Phil did not say Shaw is right coach either. Lakers coach should be the guy who has offensive-mind or defensive-mind. How much does Brian Shaw knows about triangle offense? We don’t know what he is going to do.
Two words: Jerry Sloan.
Just from watching this team play all season, this team was hard enough to root for. From the lack of effort in all sorts of games, to the inability to execute a pro level offense, as much as I loved em, the Lake show was a tough medicine at times this year.
If we add Dunleavy as our coach, effectively guaranteeing that somewhere in the playoffs a choke job (see Portland 2000, Clippers 2006), this medicine will become a horse pill sized tablet of pepto bismol chews.
I would still support the lakers next year, but would cringe at the sight of seeing that slicked back hair on the sideline.
And btw, nowitzki has been a monster, with one of the best games I’ve ever seen, and Dallas is only up 7 with OKC storming back. I am now convinced OKC will win this series. Regardless of the outcome to this game.
I’m not watching the game – what’s going on? Is Dirk really earning all these free throws, are the Thunder players giving stupid fouls, or are the refs raising their level of ineptitude? I know Dirk’s started driving more, but this is still a slow, jumpshooting big man. 22 FTs?
What did the Clippers get for that #1 pick? They must have known that it would be a very, very high lottery pick, didn’t they? Yeah, they could have had two #1 picks in three years, but oh well. That Dallas team means business this playoffs. As far as the topic of this post, yes for Jerry Sloan.
sT – Off the top of my head, they got Mo Williams and they got rid of Baron Davis’s awful contract. There may have been some more details, can’t remember. I think they were supposed to pick 7th or 8th, and in a weak draft they assumed it was worth giving up. They probably never dreamed they’d jump to #1 the way the Bulls did a few years ago.
The Clips have to be kicking themselves. Even if this is a really weak draft, I’ve heard the top 2 players are supposed to be solid (I won’t pretend I know anything about Irving or Williams).
Funky Chicken says
Wanna know how to ensure a miserable summer for a Laker fan?
1. Get swept in the 2nd round.
2. Have Kobe publicly tell Bynm to fall in line behind Bryant and Pau.
3. Hire Mike Dunleavy as head coach.
4. Bring back Derek Fisher as starting PG.
5. No significant trades or personnel upgrades.
6. Miami Heat win the title.
7. Long lockout.
34) I concur! LOL!
@32 yeah, it was the refs. Some of the calls Dirk was getting were an absolute abomination (drawing breath in his vicinity kind of stuff). I have a feeling this is going to be an aggravating playoffs the rest of the way.
The Dude Abides says
It sure looked to me like OKC was playing physical with Dirk and the refs didn’t let them get away with it. He did shoot 24 FTs, but Westbrook shot 18 and Durant shot 19, and OKC had 43 FTAs to 36 for Dallas.
Renato Afonso says
While I understand the support for Shaw (who I think should be an assistant to Adelman for 2 or 3 years until Kobe retires and then assume as head coach) I fail to understand the relevance of your comment on race.
I, and most people here, like to discuss what’s best for the Lakers and we’re doing it in regard to X’s and O’s as well as management ability from possible future Lakers’ head coaches. In our minds, Adelman is not a white coach nor Shaw is a black coach. Adelman is the guy who runs the “corner” offense which requires a passing big man and Shaw is the guy who can keep the triangle running. The Lakers don’t need a white nor black nor yellow nor green nor purple nor pink coach. They need a coach that leads them to the title, period.
It really puzzles me that everyone in the US throws the race card around so easily and I, personally, think such a discussion has no place on a basketball site/blog.
While I do love B. Shaw and wouldn’t be upset if he got the gig, I think he may end up as the next Ty Corbin…a loyal assistant who doesn’t reach his potential after following a living legend.
I think some continuity is necessary but I think the team could stand some infusion of new blood. My dream scenario is Jerry Sloan and retaining B. Shaw to provide the continuity piece.
It was bad D by OKC; the guys they switched on Dirk were playing way too aggressively for the way the game was being called. You have to be smarter than that if you want to win.
The refs called it tight last night–Westbrook, Durant and Dirk all got taken care of–but at least they were consistent.
It was a Joey Crawford game…. He likes when he gets to make a difference
Refs were consistent last night. As long as they do that, hard for anyone to complain. It’s up to the players to adjust. It’s when the calls are all over the place is when it’s irritating and bad reffing. OKC has no room to complain about Dirk’s FT’s when KD was right behind him at 19. Dirk at 24 with the last two being intentional foul isn’t that big of a discrepancy and as The Dude pointed out OKC had more FT’s overall.
I don’t understand this fascination with Jerry Sloan. I respect what he’s done. But I don’t see how his history makes him a good fit for the Lakers personnel. His system is guard oriented. Also the two stars he handled in Malone and Stockton were very low key. He clashed with Deron even when he held all the leverage. What do people see there that makes them think he’ll do well in LA?
If you’re going outside the organization, Adelman seems to be the best fit given his history and track record. From his O system, to handling stars with big egos, to getting his teams to play hard.
The refs were consistent last night, but to many calls and trips to the free throw line made for a boring game. There was no flow to the game, it seemed like every five seconds the refs where calling fouls on both sides of the ball. Watching players make free throws is not entertaining in my book, hopefully the refs will adjust their calls and at least let the game have a better rhythym in the future.
“Dirk were playing way too aggressively for the way the game was being called”
Not the way Dirk was shooting
As much as I respect B. Shaw, I believe it would have been a much easier transition from Assistant to Head Coach if we wouldn’t have gone out n the fashion that we did. I was of the belief that if we had gone on to win the championship, everyone’s spirits would have been high and the harmony n unity within the locker-room and between team-mates would have made Shaw’s assention so much smoother. Now, do to the way n which we were eliminated, there seems to be friction and dissension among the players. Whereas Shaw, would now be viewed as part of the regime that just failed. The regime that the unit lost respect and stopped playing hard for.
Also not enthralled with the idea of Kobe playing under Shaw. It’s one thing for Shaw to man up to Sasha, but will he have the testicles to reprimand Kobe, who is definitely bound to test Shaw’s authority. I know Kobe vouched for Shaw, but will he RESPECT him as the Captain of the Ship?
It doesn’t really matter who the next coach of the Lakers is, as long as the personnel is not drastically different. The truth is that Kobe’s significant decline on the defensive end due to injuries and age coupled with the lack of speed on the perimeter with Artest and Fisher was the cause of the Laker’s demise, not the frontline or the coach. Trading Pau or Bynum and getting a new coach is not the solution. When your highest paid player can no longer play defense and you are stuck with him for another 3 years at an average of 27 million dollars per year, and he states that Bynum at 23 should be the third option offensively, you’ve got major issues. Unless Kobe comes back miraculously with a new set of knees, the Lakers are screwed until he retires. This article summarizes the Lakers main problem:
T. Rogers says
There is change going on in the NBA. Phil is gone. Sloan is gone. Pop is on his way out in a season or two. Plus the younger generation of players is taking over the league with authority and vengeance. There is general passing of the torch going on and the Lakers need to be in front of it, not behind it. The next stock of great coaches is probably sitting on benches as assistants right now. The smart teams are picking those guys up now (ex: Chicago) while other teams are looking for “proven” coaches.
Phil Jackson has never spun off any great assistants. Brian Shaw is primed to be the first one. I just hope the Lakers don’t let him get away just to see him go to another team and flourish. There is a youth movement going on and the Lakers need to get with the program. If the options are Mike Dunleavy, Rick Adelman, and Brian Shaw then I lean toward Shaw with Adelman as the number two option.
Kobe and Pau both have three years apiece left on their contracts. I am off the thinking Kobe will retire when his contract is up. No, he won’t do it because he wants to. His body will simply force him to call it quits. If the Lakers install the 64 year old Adelman they will be looking at a total rebuild in a few more years with Kobe gone, possibly Pau gone, and Adelman ready to call it quits. It will be extremely hard to lure any major free agents while looking for a quality head coach at the same time. It would seem smarter to go with the 45 year old Shaw. He has a good relationship with the current players. He has won with the Lakers as a player and an assistant coach. Plus, he was mentored by the greatest of them all. I’d take my chances with Shaw before ever bringing in Dunleavy.
The reason the Lakers lost was they didn’t play to their full potential. Looking at the roster on paper at the begining of the year there was talk of the team reaching the 70 win plateau.
The core pieces are still there, that’s where Jerry Sloan gets my vote as he always maximizes his teams potential. Regardless of injuries or talent levels his teams always competed.
To be able to do this consistently speaks volumes. Most coaching tenures last 3-4 years because they lose effectiveness…can’t say that about Sloan. I think the hiring of the right coach is at least equally if not more vital than roster tweaks this off-season.
Check out Phil Jackson talking about his old team and his relationship with Jeanie Bus. http://tinyurl.com/3wo7poj
Thanks Snoopy @34, this is the site of basketball knowledge, from either the commenter’s or the guys running it.
Darius Soriano says
A new post is up.