Mike D'Antoni is not getting it done as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. Next!
The following is a help wanted ad seeking a new head coach for the Los Angeles Lakers:
The Los Angeles Lakers are in need of a head coach who is an experienced and creative basketball mind as well as an understanding and motivational leader. The new coach will be expected to be a cornerstone of the franchise renovation process that will undoubtedly occur as the Lakers transition to the post-Kobe Bryant era.
As potential candidates know, the 2012-13 season was not a great year to be the Lakers play caller. Mike Brown was ousted just five games into the season for inefficiency and failure to meet expectations. His replacement, Mike D'Antoni seemed to be a better fit but never got the squad over the proverbial hump despite making the playoffs with a critically wounded roster.
That said, managing the playing time of the athletes on the floor is entirely up to the head coach. D'Antoni's efforts to play quality lineups often resulted in overuse of the team's best players. Not surprisingly, all of Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant had legitimate injuries that severely hampered the franchise's ability to succeed in the postseason.
Although D'Antoni has two years left on his three year deal, the Lakers are perpetually dedicated to maximizing every season's potential. As such, the head coaching position is open for change if the organization finds a candidate that it believes can take the team in the right direction.
Coaching in Los Angeles is unlike coaching in any other city. Not only do the players and fans expect greatness, the franchise has consistently adapted and succeeded in the ever-changing NBA. Boasting 16 NBA Championships, the Lakers have a tradition of excellence only trumped by the Boston Celtics.
Furthermore, the Lakers are very clearly Los Angeles' favorite team. Along with such respect comes a responsibility to do things right, from front-office decisions to on-court play. At the center of it all, the main vessel between management and talent is the next head coach.
Make no mistake, being the front man of the Lakers' coaching staff is a full-time job. Along with handling a slew of seemingly invasive questions from the media, the head coach will have to be the most educated and innovative member of his own staff.
He will need to show strong leadership skills on the court and in the community, charisma in the locker room and in front of cameras, stubbornness, unmatched competitive fire, openness to change and adversity, creativity and humility.
In addition, the future coach must come from an extended basketball background. He should have a strong defensive mind that understands the value of teamwork, a firm understanding of talent development (out of the draft and scouting beforehand), previous coaching experience resulting in team-oriented success, untainted understanding of league rules and regulations and the ability to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of his own personnel.
Currently in Los Angeles, the situation calls for a firm hand with a flexible plan. The future coach must be able to endure short-term hardship in order to fully undertake the rebuilding process come 2014. He must earn the respect of the athletes on the floor while also transparently communicating with the decision-makers behind closed doors.
Maintaining an open flow of ideas and concerns between all levels of the organization will help the Lakers run more smoothly. Whoever takes the job has to be a calming conductor of information within the organization.
Managing egos in L.A. is one of the team's most challenging tasks. With superstars like Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard ranging the Staples Center Parquet, chemistry (or lack thereof) can become one of the team's biggest hindrances. The Lakers' ideal coach will wipe out any distractions that set individuals astray from the franchise's main goal of winning NBA championships.
Don't be intimidated by the crushing weight of expectations of fans, players and front-office staff alike. The chance to achieve greatness at the helm in L.A. far outweighs the pressures of the ride. Associating with one of the NBA's most recognized brands and bringing it further success will bear a promising legacy for the Lakers' future coach.
Exemplary candidates for this position are Phil Jackson or his protege, Brian Shaw. Both have a good understanding of what the Lakers franchise is all about and have achieved the highest accolades as members of the organization.
While the two aforementioned candidates best typify what the Lakers are looking for, they are by no means the limit of the search.
Think you are the man or woman for the job? Tweet @jkeimach9 with your story.