Lakers News: Latest on Coaching Staff, Criticism of Carlos Boozer

Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 18, 2014

EL SEGUNDO, CA - JULY 25: Mitch Kupchak and Carlos Boozer #5 of the Los Angeles Lakers pose for a photo during a press conference at the Toyota Sports Center on July 25, 2014 in El Segundo, California. 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.  Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

There will be few teams in the NBA under more pressure than the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2014-15 campaign. The historic franchise finished last year with a 27-55 record and looked downright lost on the floor at times. 

To make matters worse, the Los Angeles Clippers are filled with talent and could contend with the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs for supremacy in the loaded Western Conference.

How will Kobe Bryant and company respond? To get a better idea, let’s look at some of the latest news out of Los Angeles.

 

Coaching Staff Addition

SACRAMENTO, CA - JANUARY 7: Assistant coach Jim Eyen of the Sacramento Kings in a game against the Memphis Grizzlies on January 7, 2013 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloadi
Rocky Widner/Getty Images

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com filled fans in on the latest regarding Byron Scott’s coaching staff:

Adding Jim Eyen to the staff isn’t going to move the needle much, but it is a solid addition because of his experience. This Lakers team is going to need to make an immense jump if it wants to make the playoffs, so placing a 22-year NBA veteran on the bench is sure to help.

What’s more is Eyen is familiar with the bright lights of Los Angeles. He began his professional career with the Los Angeles Clippers as an assistant coach in 1988 and moved to the Lakers after that. He served as an assistant under Pat Riley and then Mike Dunleavy for years.

SACRAMENTO, CA - MARCH 18: Assistant coach Jim Eyen of the Sacramento Kings signals to his players in a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 18 2012 at Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges
Rocky Widner/Getty Images

Most recently, Eyen was with the Sacramento Kings, so there is familiarity with the Pacific Division in the Western Conference. 

Eyen may not be able to help the Lakers grab more rebounds or contain Kevin Durant, Tony Parker and the rest of the West, but he provides some valuable experience and could help mentor young players like Julius Randle.

 

Carlos Boozer: Worst Newcomer?

ESPN.com ran an exercise it dubbed as the summer forecast where it predicted things like the 2014-15 standings and the MVP and also ranked certain categories like worst newcomer. Unfortunately for Lakers fans, Carlos Boozer was deemed the worst newcomer of the entire offseason.

Boozer posted nightly averages of 13.7 points and 8.3 rebounds last year for the Chicago Bulls, but he is still a weak link on the defensive end. Tom Thibodeau played Taj Gibson down the stretch of close games in place of Boozer because Gibson was the much better defender and controlled the paint in a way Boozer simply couldn’t with a lack of athleticism.

What’s more, the Lakers drafted Randle as their power forward/center of the future. Boozer’s presence could theoretically cut into the Kentucky product’s minutes and hamper his important development.

EL SEGUNDO, CA - JULY 25: Carlos Boozer #5 of the Los Angeles Lakers speaks to the media during a press conference at the Toyota Sports Center on July 25, 2014 in El Segundo, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downlo
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Still, calling the proven NBA veteran the worst newcomer of the entire offseason is a bit harsh.

Boozer still has a solid mid-range jumper, which could be particularly effective with newcomer Jeremy Lin. Remember, Scott led the New Orleans Hornets to the playoffs with pick-and-roll plays utilizing Chris Paul and David West. He also led the New Jersey Nets to the NBA Finals with the same strategy with Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin.

It’s not that far-fetched to imagine a scenario where Boozer averages double-digit points a night popping off picks for Lin.

For his part, Boozer seemed excited to be in Los Angeles. However, he did ironically bring up his failure to get past the Lakers in the playoffs as a member of the Utah Jazz, via Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com:

I was frustrated, to be quite frank. We wanted to beat them. We felt we had a good team in Utah. We fell short, obviously, but it was frustrating because you want to get to the mountain top and you keep getting stopped by the same team. But like I said, I admired them because you got to respect your opponent and I've always respected the Lakers very much. So, it's good to be on this side of it and hopefully we can have success. 

Boozer probably won’t have to worry about the playoffs in the loaded Western Conference this year, though, unless he and the Lakers greatly surpass expectations.

 

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