After revamping the roster, the Los Angeles Lakers are overhauling the coaching staff and reportedly bringing in Eddie Jordan, Bernie Bickerstaff and Steve Clifford to assist Mike Brown during the 2012-13 NBA season.
Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register reported on Thursday that Jordan will officially join the Lakers in a matter of days, with Bickerstaff and Clifford to follow.
Jordan will have the biggest impact on the team due to his offensive expertise, which is an ideal complement to Brown, who is known for his defensive knowledge. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported earlier this summer that the Lakers would use the Princeton offense this season, also noting that the team was then pursuing Jordan, who he referred to as the “foremost Princeton authority in the NBA.”
Jordan, who was most recently the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers before being fired after just one season, will help new Lakers stars Steve Nash and Dwight Howard become cogs in the offense, which is based on passing and movement.
The Princeton offense will take full advantage Gasol's and Nash’s exceptional passing abilities. Bryant was completely thrilled with the notion of switching offensive systems, and Wojnarowski quoted him making the following statement.
There's so many threats, so many options, it's very tough to defend. Against the type of defenses that teams play nowadays, they load up on one side and are constantly coming with help from the weak side. The Princeton offense makes it very, very tough to lock in on one particular player.
From my experience, those types of principles—ball movement, changing sides on the floor, everybody being involved—those are championship principles. That's championship DNA.
With five former All-Stars in the starting lineup, and just one basketball, a proven offensive system with a coach like Jordan to implement it is exactly what the Lakers need.
The Lakers lacked a cohesive philosophy on offense and were often stagnant on that end of the floor. They finished 15th in the NBA last season in points per game.
With the Princeton offense, the team will have an over-arching structure that overshadows the individual personalities on the team. With Bryant fully behind the move, the other players will follow suit.
Where will the Lakers' offense rank in points per game this season?
As for Bickerstaff, he will add a vast amount of experience to the staff. He has worked with Brown in the past and has been coaching in the NBA since 1973, according to NBA.com.
He was most recently an assistant with the Portland Trail Blazers, and his presence on the bench will be extremely valuable given that Brown is just 42 years old.
Steve Clifford will be a familiar face for Howard, as his most recent post was with the Orlando Magic. Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times notes that Clifford’s expertise is on the defensive end of the floor.
He helped Howard become the most dominant defender in basketball, and if he can get the center to continue to play at the same level, the Lakers will be an extremely dangerous team.
With Jordan’s offensive knowledge, Bickerstaff’s experience and Clifford’s grasp of defensive strategy and Howard’s skill set, the Lakers will have both a well-rounded roster and coaching staff heading into the season.