Hiring Mike Dunleavy Would Be Worst Lakers Personnel Move of All-Time

Kelly ScalettaFeatured ColumnistNovember 11, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 15:  Head coach Mike Dunleavy of the Los Angeles Clippers talks to referee Courtney Kirkland during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers on January 15, 2010 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 126-86. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Phil Jackson isn't the only former Lakers head coach the team is considering for the new vacancy created by the recent firing of Mike Brown. According to Chris Broussard of ESPN, Mike Dunleavy is one of two backup plans if Jakcson doesn't work out.

Broussard also tweets,


Mike Dunleavy & Jim Buss met 2day for about 90 minutes, source says. Went well. Dunleavy will be strongly considered if Phil doesn't do it

— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) November 11, 2012




While the Jackson hiring would be without question a great signing, hiring Dunleavy would be, to put it kindly, downright stupid. 


Yes, Dunleavy had some pretty good success during his first stint as the Lakers head coach back in 1991. Of course he was taking over a team that had two of the greatest players in NBA history and, ironically, lost in the NBA finals to the Chicago Bulls, who were coached by the aforementioned Phil Jackson. 

The following season was his last with the Lakers, where he finished with a mediocre 43-39 record. 

Dunleavy then went to the Milwaukee Bucks, where he never won more than 34 games in four seasons. 

In Portland, he had his greatest success, and greatest failure. While the team was successful, and he even won coach of the year in 1999, he showed a complete lack of ability to manage the team. His Portland record actually proves why he would be a horrible coach for the Lakers. 

During his best season, the 1998-99 season, he deserved a lot of credit for making the Trail Blazers a contender in spite of not having any real star power. Isiah Rider was the team's leading scorer at 13.9 points per game. 

Yet Dunleavy used balance, with five double-digit scorers and a top-10 offense and defense to help propel Portland to a 35-15 record, the third best in the Western Conference, and then take them all the way to the Western Conference Finals. 

However, once the Trail Blazers traded for star power in 2000, the team wasn't nearly as successful. With the team adding numerous stars including Scottie Pippen and Shawn Kemp to Damon Stoudamire, the team became known as one of the most underachieving squads in the history of the NBA. 

They failed to win a single postseason game and would earn the nickname "Jail Blazers" for their numerous off-court issues. 

There's a reason that Portland fired Dunleavy just two years after he won the Coach of the Year award. He can't manage stars. 

Dunleavy then went on to coach the Los Angeles Clippers for a stint which was, for the most part, unimpressive, although he did have one winning season in which he helped the Clippers to win the first postseason series in their history. 

This was another case of Dunleavy helping players to overachieve again though. His only All-Star was the relatively low-profile, low-maintenance Elton Brand. Apart from that he had a past-his-prime Sam Cassell, Corey Maggette when he was still hard working and healthy, and an overachieving Cutino Mobely. 

Dunleavy has shown he's a fairly competent coach when it comes to running an offense and defense. When players are motivated and buy into his system, it can succeed. However he can't seem to maintain that enthusiasm from his players. 

Essentially the same team failed to make the playoffs the next season. 

Dunleavy's history has been one, where with the exception of his rookie season, he has failed to coach superstar players well, and when he's had them it's led to disasters. That doesn't bode well for a Lakers team that has four future Hall of Famers on it. 

It's not like the Lakers are going to be the next "Jail Blazers" if Dunleavy is their coach, but they aren't going to have a modicum of respect for him.

He would be another patsy for Kobe Bryant to raise up his Princetonian ideas to and then blame for if they don't work. 

He would have zero impact in motivating the immature Dwight Howard, who, like it or not, needs a stern father figure. 

He wouldn't be able to give Pau Gasol the spine transplant he so desperately needs. 

The psychological part of the coaching this team needs is not there with Dunleavy. The X's and O's don't matter so much if a coach can't motivate the players to execute them and Dunleavy just wouldn't be able to do that. He would be nothing more than a poor man's Mike Brown.