Kurt Rambis Will Help Mike D'Antoni Adapt More Suitable Style for Lakers

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IJuly 17, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 20:  Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Kurt Rambis gestures during the second half against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on December 20, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The Clippers defeated the Timberwolves 113-90. 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 Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

It was clear that Mike D'Antoni's coaching style throughout his career wasn't the best fit for the Los Angeles Lakers last season, as they were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the San Antonio Spurs.

According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com, the Lakers are "close" to hiring former Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis.

It's a wise decision for the organization.

Rambis, who played nine seasons with the Lakers before coaching in spurts with the team from 1994-2009, is widely known as a defensive-minded coach. And, given he was somewhat of a protege under Phil Jackson when the team won five championships, you can bet he will bring some of Jackson's philosophies to D'Antoni's squad.

When former Lakers assistant Steve Clifford left to be head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats in May, it opened up the door for Rambis. And it's a good sign for the Lakers, who obviously feel they need to tweak some things after going 45-37 last season and barely slipping into the playoffs.

Rambis will be able to help sort out a defense that ranked 14th in opponents' field goal percentage last season. He will also look to work on the team's defensive rotations, which were oftentimes lacking in 2012-13. 

Sure, you can't expect the Lakers defense to all of a sudden become one of the top units in the league with the personnel it will be sending out on the court (the problems stopping speedy point guards should still be noticeable), but you can expect Rambis to at least improve the squad on that side of the ball.

There's also the fact that Rambis developed a good relationship with Kobe Bryant when he was with the Lakers. Given the headstrong mentality Bryant has displayed throughout his career, that cannot be ignored. Rambis can be somewhat of a bridge between Bryant and D'Antoni, too.

Expecting the Lakers to win the championship next season is unrealistic at this point, but adding bits and pieces gradually (whether it be to the roster or the coaching staff) can at least give the team some hope as Kobe Bryant plays out his last few years in the league.

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