The Los Angeles Lakers are trying to find some form of direction, and they may have done that in the form of a couple coaching additions.
According to Eric Pincus of The Los Angeles Times, the Lakers hired Johnny Davis and Kurt Rambis as assistant coaches. This comes after Bernie Bickerstaff, Steve Clifford, Darvin Ham, Phil Handy and Eddie Jordan all left for new positions.
While this may be the most uncertain season in franchise history, hiring Rambis will help right the ship in Los Angeles.
Pincus reported that the Lakers had been seeking multiple high-profile names to join Mike D'Antoni's coaching staff. With Alvin Gentry signing on to Doc Rivers' coaching staff with the Los Angeles Clippers, the urgency to sign Rambis increased.
Rambis wasted no time in confirming the reports that he will be joining the Lakers' organization.
Rambis had most recently spent time with ESPN and Time Warner SportsNet as a commentator for the Lakers.
This signing doesn't guarantee a title, but Rambis offers an instant improvement to a gutted coaching staff. From his years of experience as a player to his time on the sidelines, Rambis has been nothing but a winner.
And he's done it with the Lakers.
History with the Organization
From 1981 to 1988, Rambis was a key role player and local favorite for the Lakers. He won four NBA championships, carving out a reputation as one of the hardest-working men in basketball due to his physical play and team-first approach.
He was an Omer Asik type of player, for the modern fans.
In 1993, Rambis rejoined the Lakers and spent the final two years of his playing career in Los Angeles. While his contributions were limited, Rambis remained one of the most well-liked players in L.A.
He also became a player-coach in 1994 and held a position as an assistant until 1999, when he was 24-13 as L.A.'s third coach of the season. Under Phil Jackson, Rambis made four more NBA Finals appearances as an assistant coach, winning two titles.
If you've yet to understand what I'm getting at, Rambis knows how to win—specifically in L.A.
With a head coach that the Lakers' fanbase has not shied away from criticizing, it's important that the organization found a favorable face to place on the sidelines. Not only has Rambis won a collective six NBA championships with the Lakers, but he's also a popular personality.
In the end, a championship pedigree can buy you just about anything in Los Angeles—and that's something Rambis brings to an untouchable coaching staff.
Back to What Works
The Lakers will forever remember—or eternally attempt to forget—the 2012-13 season as the most disappointing in franchise history. They took four potential Hall of Famers, three combined MVP awards and two Defensive Player of the Year winners and needed a final-day victory to make the playoffs.
In 2013-14, it's time to go back to what works.
Since the inception of their organization, the Lakers have been a team that runs their offense through their big men. George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O'Neal all anchored generations in that manner.
In 2008 and 2009, it was Pau Gasol who served as the dominant defensive force.
There's no question that legends such as Elgin Baylor, Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant have come along to provide extraordinary results. With that being said, the Lakers experienced their greatest success with balance.
That's something Los Angeles lacked in 2012-13.
There's no question that D'Antoni is an offensive mastermind, constructing schemes that even the best defensive gurus struggle to contain. With that being said, D'Antoni has never been a proponent of post-up play and thus pulled Gasol and Dwight Howard out of their comfort zones.
Rambis can help L.A. return to its roots.
If there's one thing that we learned from Rambis' time with Time Warner SportsNet, it's that he has no qualms about speaking his mind. Whether he was routinely criticizing D'Antoni's coaching—and yes, the Lakers are aware of that—or criticizing the biggest names in L.A., he was honest.
And that's what the Lakers need right now.
There are countless theories about what went wrong in Los Angeles last season, but the starting lineup's production wasn't the issue. Instead, what plagued the Lakers was an undeniable tendency to avoid stepping on toes.
As one might have assumed, the only one who had no qualms about taking the reigns was Kobe.
In 2013-14, the Lakers have a revamped second unit that should fare significantly better than the group that ranked 26th or worse in scoring, efficiency and defensive efficiency in 2012-13. They also have a core that understands their roles with Howard departed.
What they need to bring it all together is a coach who will put players in their places and work directly with those who the game is run through—the big men.
Rambis will run practices with Gasol, ideally teaching him how to be more assertive on the low block. In turn, L.A. will get back to what won it two championships, as the offense flows through Gasol's dynamic skill set.
From there, Kobe and Steve Nash will be trusted to show why they're surefire Hall of Fame selections.
This is far from a guarantee that the Lakers will contend for the NBA championship in 2013-14. The fact of the matter is, Kobe and Gasol are both in contract years, and the Lakers will go all out and pray for the best.
It just so happens that Rambis is the perfect assistant coach to help them do just that.
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