Messina is familiar with the Lakers as he was brought in as a consultant to Mike Brown in 2011-2012, but left after the season to take a head coaching position with CSKA Moscow, a team he coached from 2005-2009. His return overseas was in hopes of continuing to grow as a coach so he could eventually earn himself a job in the NBA. During the consultant stint, Lakers management and Kobe Bryant were reportedly impressed with Messina’s work.
Many will be unfamiliar with the work of the 54-year-old coach, but when taking a closer look at his body of work, his offensive philosophy looks to fit the slower tempo, post-play style of basketball that Kobe wants to play. From an article written by Messina himself, here is tidbit on his offensive philosophy:
“Playing in transition is the distinguishing mark of a team that plays the more interesting basketball to watch, but to play in this way it is necessary for players to understand basketball fundamentals and to have an extreme awareness of the rhythm of the game. To control this kind of situation, especially when we play away from home, we play in transition. Our first goal is to give the ball to the center after penetrating inside the defense. In this way, we create a situation where the defense must react and where we now have a precise rhythm for our offense after the ball has gone inside.”
One of main issues with former coach Mike D’Antoni was his unwillingness to play out of the post and slowing down the pace of the offense despite the fact that his personnel included players who would have been far more successful had there small adjustments.
As you read more about Messina’s offensive philosophy, the more he sounds like the anti-D’Antoni as he is a proponent of the traditional style of basketball in which the Lakers enjoyed success over the last decade, but even Messina knows an offensive system must be flexible.
“You can’t limit your team to just be an inside team or a perimeter team,” Messina said. “You need to combine the two things. I think the great teams combine the two aspects of their game. They have balance on the floor and they usually take a balanced shot on offense.”
Here is a fun fact about the highly regarded international coach: In 2002, Messina became the coach for Benetton Treviso in the Italian League where he took over for…
Hit the jump for why Ettore Messina would not be a good hire for the Lakers.