The Los Angeles Lakers are a franchise that was historically known for greatness over the years. With 16 Championships, they own the second spot in the NBA record books for most franchise titles. However, lately they have not been measuring up to the Laker legacy. This is a team that has been on a gradual downturn ever since Phil Jackson left after the 2010-2011 season. Now as the team transitions past a disappointing 27- 55 season, there are changes on the rise. The Lakers are moving in a new direction. Mike D’Antoni has since resigned and the Lakers have set their sites on something new. This is their third coach change in four years. It appears that the Lakers have not found a good fit in the coaching position since the days of Pat Riley and Phil Jackson.
The General Manager of the LA Lakers Mitch Kupchak held a press conference on Wednesday discussing the upcoming changes to be made. He briefed the press on everything regarding the dismal draft lottery pick, and details on filing the coaching position.
Kupchak and the Lakers franchise were looking forward to the draft lottery to upgrade their current roster. Nevertheless, it does not look so promising, because they only managed to snag the 7th pick. With this being such a promising draft season boasting the likes of Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randal, and Jabari Parker, they knew the value of a number one pick. If the Lakers are lucky, they can still get a valuable player, or at least someone they can trade. The chances of them actually landing a marquee player such as Wiggins are very slim. They were depending on acquiring a star player to make the team more attractive for other potential prospects. Despite the overall draft lottery outcome, Kupchak still feels “it could’ve been worse.”
Outside of the draft lottery, the other important factor to consider is the coaching vacancy. Kupchak has been insisting that he will not rush the process of finding a replacement. In fact, he informed the press that he will not anticipate hiring a coach in the next two or three weeks. They are currently interviewing and will continue to interview, because no decisions have been reached.
When making this crucial decision it is necessary to take a few things into consideration. One key factor to consider according to Kupchak is how this coach will employ Kobe Bryant. It is necessary that Bryant and the new coach see eye-to-eye. There should be no friction with the Lakers franchise player, and the upcoming coach. The only focus should be winning. Kupchak also emphasized the importance of the forthcoming coach being experienced in coaching.
Having an experienced coach may be preferable, but an experienced retired player is just as valuable. There are numerous names being thrown around in regards to this position. Some of those favorable candidates are Derek Fisher, Mike Dunleavy, George Karl, Jeff Van-Gundy, Byron Scott, Kurt Rambis, and Roy Williams.
Mitch Kupchak will be very decisive in deciding who will receive this head coaching position. He understands whomever takes this job will seem to have a lot of work ahead of them. This franchise needs a complete overhaul of everything from the past seasons. These past seasons have been record lows, and the Lakers are not looking to repeat that.
Commentary by Schelett Rickenbacker