Thursday, December 18, 2014
Blog Page 7

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Byron Scott
Image: Chris Chambers | Getty Images

Name: Byron Scott

Career Coaching Record: Regular Season: 416-521 (.444), Playoffs: 33-24 (.579)

Previous Stints: New Jersey Nets (2000-2004), New Orleans Hornets (2004-2009),  Cleveland Cavaliers (2010-2013)

Many fans throughout Laker Nation want former Laker great and current TWC SportsNet commentator Byron Scott to become the next Lakers Head Coach. As of right now, many people believe he is one of the top candidates to replace Mike D’Antoni and seek to bring the Lakers back to prominence. Scott played with the Lakers for 11 of his 14 NBA seasons and has head coaching experience with the New Jersey Nets, New Orleans Hornets, and Cleveland Cavaliers. He has led his New Jersey Nets team to 2 straight NBA Finals appearances, once in 2002 where his team ran into the Shaq-Kobe led Lakers, and then vs. San Antonio Spurs in 2003. From all indications, Scott definitely wants to become the next Lakers head coach.

Hit the jump for why Byron Scott would be a good hire for the Lakers.

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After 16 NBA Championships and 31 Western Conference Titles, the Lakers have been one of the most storied and successful franchises in NBA history. From the eras of West, Chamberlain, Kareem, Magic, and Kobe, there have been countless record-breaking performances and memorable games that have added to Lakers glory. Let’s take a look back at some notable moments for the purple and gold, from the week of May 11-17, over their 66-year history.

May 14, 1996

Magic Johnson announced his official retirement from professional basketball, after returning to the NBA to play 32 regular season and four playoff games, following a four-year hiatus from the league.

May 15, 1982

The Lakers swept the Spurs and advanced to the NBA Finals with a 128-123 win in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals. The victory made the Lakers the first team in NBA playoff history to sweep back-to-back best-of-7 series.

Getty Images
Getty Images

May 15, 1984

Magic Johnson set a playoff record with 24 assists when the Lakers defeated the Phoenix Suns 118-102 in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals. John Stockton of the Utah Jazz eventually tied Johnson’s record in 1988.

May 15, 1995

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Abdul-Jabbar was the NBA’s all-time leader in points scored, games played, minutes played, field goals made, field goal attempts, blocked shots, defensive rebounds, and personal fouls at the time of his retirement in 1989.

May 16, 1980

During his rookie season, Magic Johnson filled in at center for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Johnson scored 42 points and collected 15 rebounds for the Lakers in the title-clinching game. Johnson made all 14 of his free throw attempts, which set an NBA Finals record. He was named the Finals MVP, and his 42 points are the most-ever scored by a rookie in an NBA Finals game.

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Derek Fisher
Image: Patrick McDermott | Getty Images

Name: Derek Fisher

Career Coaching Record: N/A

Previous Stints: N/A

Derek Fisher is currently engaged in a playoff run with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The 18 year veteran and former Laker holds the all time record for most playoff game appearances and victories as a player. A 5 time champion with the Lakers and Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher has won more games in the playoffs than any FRANCHISE during his 18 years in the league. More than the Lakers, more than the Spurs. He has never coached, and has indicated interest in continuing his playing career, but he is a natural leader and has coaching promise written all over him.

Hit the jump for why Derek Fisher would be a good hire for the Lakers.

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Tom Thibodeau
Image: Scott Halleran | Getty Images

Name: Tom Thibodeau

Career Coaching Record: Regular season: 205-107 (.657), Playoffs: 17-22 (.436)

Previous Stints:  Chicago Bulls (2010-Present)

Tom Thibodeau is the current head coach of the Chicago Bulls, his first head coaching job in his career.  The Bulls hired Thibodeau in 2010 after they fired Vinny Del Negro.  The Bulls were a .500 team in the 09-10′ season posting a 41-41 record under Del Negro, however, upon hiring Thibodeau the Bulls made it to the Eastern Conference Finals.  The Bulls posted a 62-20 record that year, the best record in the NBA.  A big reason the Bulls turned their record around was due to Thibodeau’s smothering defensive way of playing basketball.  Thibodeau was the fastest coach to win 100 games, and he posted a .757 winning percentage in his first two seasons which is the second-best win percentage for a coach behind Avery Johnson.  Thibodeau is still coach of the Chicago Bulls but that doesn’t mean the Lakers don’t want to steal him away and make him the newest head coach.

Hit the jump for why Tom Thibodeau would be a good hire for the Lakers.

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Photo by: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America

Lakers’ star player Pau Gasol may not return next season, then again maybe he will. At this point it is all contingent upon Kobe Bryant and the oncoming changes within the Lakers organization. Gasol has a blog in Spanish that he posts to quite often. Previously, LA Daily News writer Mark Medina translated one of Gasol’s latest posts.

“Re-signing for the Lakers is a possibility, but I’m not sure whether to say it’s a remote one. If there’s anything or anyone who could make me stay it’s Kobe Bryant. I’d stay for him, but there’d have to be significant changes. I’ve said it many times: I want to be in a team that has a solid chance to win another tournament and where I can be an important factor in the game….

“I’ve never concealed the fact that (Lakers coach Mike) D’Antoni’s style doesn’t suit my game. Everybody knows this. I don’t know if my decision will be swayed by whether Mike stays or leaves. Obviously, the coach is a very important factor for any team.”

Gasol spoke out about his frustrations with former coach Mike D’Antoni’s system before and certainly has no gripes with discussing his future plans. Yet this is the first time that he’s spoken publicly about Bryant’s affiliation with his future plans. Since then, Bryant has responded to Gasol by telling him how much he wants the big man to return. While this latest response hasn’t been public, ESPN’s Chris Broussard on Mike and Mike in the morning has reported that they have been in communication.

Another reason why Gasol may stay is due to general manager Mitch Kupchak wanting to retain Gasol at the NBA’s trading deadline. First reported by Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times, Kupchak and part owner and executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss, were not in agreement on what to do with Gasol.

“As the team tries to retool its roster, Jim continues to work closely with Kupchak, who sounds out ideas with Buss before they arrive at a decision. Buss and Kupchak were torn on what to do with veteran Pau Gasol as the NBA trade deadline approached in February and the team lagged in the standings.”

Buss was fine with trading him, Kupchak wasn’t so sure. In the end, the Lakers were never offered more than a second-round draft pick for the aging star, a pittance in their mind. And they didn’t want to seem like they were dumping Gasol’s $19.3-million salary for nothing.

“Mitch wins a lot more of these battles than people imagine,” said an agent who asked not to be identified because he deals with the Lakers. “They respect his caution.”

If anyone knows what can still be successful within this league it is Mitch Kupchak. Yes the Lakers this past season were not great, but considering how the past two years in LA have gone nobody would have expected a swift turnaround. They have done the best they could with what they had. At the least, last season displayed which players could be retained moving forward and who the organization will move on without.

Basketball may have transitioned to a guard oriented game but the big men can be the difference between being a good team and a great one. Not many big men in today’s game have a skillset similar to Gasol’s. Bryant is smart in recognizing this as Gasol, when utilized correctly, can still be a primer big man. Building a team around a core of Bryant, Gasol, and a third star would do well in the league and could compete for a title with complementing pieces. The next couple of months will be instrumental in the Lakers restructuring themselves, bringing back Gasol would be a great benefit as he has become an integral part of their identity and a player that can make a difference.

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Lionel Hollins
Image: Kevin C. Cox | Getty Images

Name: Lionel Hollins

Career Coaching Record: Regular Season: 214-201 (.516), Playoffs: 18-17 (.514)

Previous Stints: Vancouver Grizzlies (1999-2000), Memphis Grizzlies (2004), Memphis Grizzlies (2009-2013)

Former Memphis Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins has recently expressed interest in the Lakers’ head coaching vacancy. As head of the Grizzlies, Hollins coached the team to many franchise records. In the 2011-2012 lockout season, the Grizzlies had a franchise best win percentage at .621. That year the Grizzlies were the 4 seed heading into the playoffs and had home court advantage for the first time in franchise history. He also led the Grizzlies to a franchise best 56 win season in 2012-2013 and led the team to the Western Conference Finals before being swept by the San Antonio Spurs. Grizzlies management decided not to renew Hollins’ contract in the summer of 2013.

Hit the jump for why Lionel Hollins would be a good hire for the Lakers.

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Ettore Messina
Image: JACK GUEZ | AFP Getty Images

Name: Ettore Messina

Career Coaching Accolades: Euroleague champion (4x), Winners’ Cup champion, Euroleague Coach of the Year (2x), Italian League champion (4x), Italian Cup champion (4x), Russian League champion (5x), Russian Cup champion (2x), 50 Greatest Euroleague Contributors

Previous Stints: Virtus Bologna (Italy), Italy National Team, Benetton Treviso (Italy), CSKA Moscow (Russia), Real Madrid (Spain), Los Angeles Lakers – consultant role

In the past, discussion regarding the next head coach of the Lakers for the most part started and ended with Phil Jackson, but with Jackson now occupying a power position with the New York Knicks, that discussion is now all but irrelevant.

But how would the Laker Nation feel about a man that was once dubbed the “Phil Jackson of international basketball”?

The Lakers are rumored to be interested in Ettore Messina for their head coaching vacancy and for those concerned about his lack of experience in the NBA, from his reputation to the system of basketball he instills, Messina could be exactly what the team needs as it moves forward.

Hit the jump for why Ettore Messina would be a good hire for the Lakers.

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Mark Jackson
Image: Stephen Dunn | Getty Images

Name: Mark Jackson

Career Coaching Record: Regular Season: 121-109 (.526), Playoffs: 9-10 (.474)

Previous Stints: Golden State Warriors (2011-2014)

Mark Jackson was recently let go by the Golden State Warriors after guiding the team to a 51-31 regular season, its first 50-win season since 1993-94. Jackson turned the struggling franchise from a perennial lottery team to a legitimate playoff contender in his three year stint as head coach, but even that wasn’t enough to save his job. Rumors are swirling that Jackson and the front office did not see eye to eye and that anything short of a Finals appearance would lead to his firing. As his good friend and former broadcast partner Jeff Van Gundy once said, “If they can’t get you on results, they’ll get you on relationships.”

Hit the jump for why Mark Jackson would be a good hire for the Lakers.

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Jeff Van Gundy
Image: Matthew Stockman | Getty Images

Name: Jeff Van Gundy

Career Coaching Record: Regular Season: 430-318 (.575), Playoffs: 44-44 (.500)

Previous Stints: New York Knicks (1995-2002), Houston Rockets (2003-2007)

Current ABC/ESPN Analyst Jeff Van Gundy‘s name has been linked to the Lakers head coaching position. Van Gundy has experience coaching in a big market of New York City, and coaching players like Patrick Ewing, Latrell Sprewell, Allan Houston, Tracy McGrady, and Yao Ming.

After taking a hiatus from coaching for the last 7 seasons, Van Gundy seems to be ready to leave the announcers booth and take another shot at a Head Coaching position

Hit the jump for why Jeff Van Gundy would be a good hire for the Lakers.

Robert Sullivan/Getty Images

After 16 NBA Championships and 31 Western Conference Titles, the Lakers have been one of the most storied and successful franchises in NBA history. From the eras of West, Chamberlain, Kareem, Magic, and Kobe, there have been countless record-breaking performances and memorable games that have added to Lakers glory. Let’s take a look back at some notable moments for the purple and gold, from the week of May 4-10, over their 66-year history.

May 6, 1970

The Lakers set an NBA Finals field goal percentage record (.606), as they converted 57 of 94 field goal attempts during a 135-113 Game 6 win over the Knicks. Wilt Chamberlain led the way with 45 points, while Jerry West added 33. This NBA Finals record lasted for 15 years.

May 6, 1996

Laker-great Gail Goodrich was one of six people inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1996. Goodrich took his place in the Hall 17 years after his illustrious NBA career ended in 1979. For his career, Goodrich was a five-time NBA All-Star and a member of the 1974 All-NBA team. He still ranks as the third all-time leading scorer among lefties in NBA history. Goodrich won his one and only NBA championship with the Lakers in 1972.

Wen Roberts/NBAE/Getty Images
Wen Roberts/NBAE/Getty Images

May 6, 1997

Robert Horry set an NBA playoff record going 7 for 7 on three-point field goal attempts in a 103-101 loss to the Utah Jazz in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Horry totaled 21 points for the game, all from three-pointers.

May 7, 1972

The Lakers captured their first NBA championship since moving from Minneapolis to Los Angeles. Led by Finals MVP Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West, the Lakers defeated the New York Knicks in five games to capture the franchise’s sixth championship.

May 8, 1988

The Lakers held the Utah Jazz to an NBA playoff record-low eight points in the first quarter of Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals. The Lakers eventually won the game 110-91, and the series, in seven games.

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Image: Jonathan Daniel | Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni resigned late Wednesday afternoon as ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne broke the story via Twitter.

Lakers geneal manager Mitch Kupcak released this statement from the organziation thanking D’Antoni for his tenure as their head coach.

“Given the circumstances, I don’t know that anybody could have done a better job than Mike did the past two seasons,” Kupchak said. “On behalf of the Lakers, we thank Mike for the work ethic, professionalism and positive attitude that he brought to the team every day. We wish him the best of luck.”

LA Times Mike Bresnahan covered the story with comments from D’Antoni’s agent Warren LeGarie about the decision to resign,

“In order for Mike to have done his job, we felt that having the option year picked up would have changed the narrative,” LeGarie said Wednesday. “They knew that Mike would have been the coach and there would have been a different reaction. It would have been difficult for him to do his job without it.”

LeGarie is speaking about the recent reports where D’Antoni asked Lakers management to pick up the option year in his contract so that he would know for sure he was a part of the team’s future. With the report coming out last week and the Lakers remaining silent publicly thus far, D’Antoni’s decision to resign seems justified so that he could have control over his future.

“It was an impossible decision for Mike,” LeGarie said. “He loved the guys on the team, the young guys. He clearly felt he had impacted their development and they had a real good buy-in on this. But clearly there wasn’t enough there to get us past some of the issues.”

After having a 67-87 record since being hired, this resignation allows for D’Antoni to decide his own fate within the NBA and for the Lakers to have a fresh start. D’Antoni’s system never really fit the players the Lakers had like many hoped it would. Now the team has the chance to find their own identity and configure who they are going to be moving forward.

Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

After 16 NBA Championships and 31 Western Conference Titles, the Lakers have been one of the most storied and successful franchises in NBA history. From the eras of West, Chamberlain, Kareem, Magic, and Kobe, there have been countless record-breaking performances and memorable games that have added to Lakers glory. Let’s take a look back at some notable moments for the purple and gold, from the week of April 27-May 3, over their 66-year history.

April 29, 1970

Jerry West knocked down a legendary 63-foot buzzer-beater to send Game 3 of the 1970 NBA Finals to overtime against the New York Knicks. Although the Knicks would eventually win the game and NBA title, this moment remains one of the best in Lakers’ NBA Finals history.

April 29, 1990

Pat Riley recorded his 100th career playoff victory as a head coach, with a 104-100 Laker-win over the Houston Rockets. With the win, Riley broke Red Auerbach’s previous record of 99. Riley won four NBA championships as the head coach of the Lakers between 1981 and 1990.

Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

April 30, 2006

Kobe Bryant hit a game-tying runner with seven-tenths of a second left in regulation, and then a 17-foot jump shot as time expired in overtime, to give the Lakers a 99-98 win over the Phoenix Suns in Game 4 of the first-round of the Western Conference playoffs. This victory gave the Lakers a 3-1 advantage in the series, which they eventually lost in seven games. Bryant finished with 24 points in his heroic performance.

May 1, 1970

The Lakers defeated the Knicks in Game 4 of the NBA Finals 121-115, after the highest scoring overtime in NBA playoff history. Los Angeles outscored New York 22-16 in the extra period, and Jerry West led the way for the Lakers with 37 points in the game. The Lakers eventually lost the best-of-seven-series to the Knicks in seven games.

Getty Images

After 16 NBA Championships and 31 Western Conference Titles, the Lakers have been one of the most storied and successful franchises in NBA history. From the eras of West, Chamberlain, Kareem, Magic, and Kobe, there have been countless record-breaking performances and memorable games that have added to Lakers glory. Let’s take a look back at some notable moments for the purple and gold, from the week of April 20-26, over their 66-year history.

April 23, 1950

The Lakers won back-to-back NBA Championships for the first time in league history. They bested the Syracuse Nationals in six games in the 1950 NBA Finals.

April 23, 1969

Jerry West scored 53 points to lift the Lakers passed the Celtics in Game 1 of the 1969 NBA Finals. West’s 53 points are the second most in NBA Finals history by a guard, second only to Michael Jordan’s 55 points against the Suns in Game 4 of the 1993 Finals. Los Angeles ultimately fell to Boston in the 1969 Finals in seven games.

Vernon Biever/Getty Images
Vernon Biever/Getty Images

April 23, 1989

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played the final game of his NBA career, as the Lakers defeated the Seattle SuperSonics, 121-117. Abdul-Jabbar finished his career with the NBA record for points and games played with 38,387 and 1,560, respectively.

April 25, 1965

The Lakers defeated the Baltimore Bullets in six games in the 1965 Western Division Finals, as Jerry West averaged 46.3 points per game in the series. West recorded the highest scoring average for a playoff series in NBA history, after scoring at least 40 points in each of the six games played. The Lakers eventually lost to the Celtics in five games in the NBA Finals.

April 25, 2004

Kobe Bryant converted an eventual game-winning three-point play with a layup and a made-free throw with 40 seconds remaining in overtime of Game 5 of the Western Conference first-round against the Houston Rockets. Bryant scored six of his 18 points in overtime, while 40-year-old Karl Malone led the way for the Lakers with 30 points and 13 rebounds. The win gave the Lakers a three games to one series lead. They eventually won the series in five games, and advanced to the NBA Finals, before falling to the Pistons.

 

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Image: Kevork Djansezian | Getty Images

In comments to the Mike Bresnahan and the Los Angeles Times, Lakers owner Jim Buss made his most impactful statement since taking full control of basketball operations in 2013.

As fans continue to have doubts regarding the direction of the franchise, Buss clearly knows the expectations of franchise and as a result noted in a board meeting with his family that he would resign from his position if the team was not back to being a contender in the coming years.

“I was laying myself on the line by saying, if this doesn’t work in three to four years, if we’re not back on the top — and the definition of top means contending for the Western Conference, contending for a championship — then I will step down because that means I have failed.”

Buss has hardly been a public figure for the team since taking over the team after the death of his father, Dr. Jerry Buss. Without the appearances at games or at press conferences, the fans have questioned the whereabouts of Buss while also criticizing the lack of responsibility being taken by management.

Buss is said to have been the driving force behind the hiring of Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni, two very unpopular hires amongst the fan base.  To make matters worse for Buss, this year the team suffered its worst season since moving to Los Angeles with a 25-57 record.  Add in Dwight Howard leaving to Houston or the team passing over Phil Jackson twice, many if not all decisions have gone wrong the past two seasons.

Although it is easy to focus on the negatives, Buss has shown flashes of brilliance such as moves like acquiring Chris Paul before the move was vetoed by the NBA and then responded to that by making moves for Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, giving the Lakers high expectations before everything came crashing down due to injuries and many other issues.  It might be that brilliance that gives Buss the confidence to tell people the Lakers will be back on top sooner than later.

“There’s no question in my mind we will accomplish success. I’m not worried about putting myself on the line.”

If anything, fans should at least give Buss credit for finally stepping into the spotlight and putting his job on the line.  Not only does it show that he is maturing as an executive, but is also taking responsibility for the success and failure of the Lakers.

It is a start in the right direction.

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With the Lakers off to a poor start, trade rumors have begun to swirl around Kobe Bryant, leading many to speculate if he'll leave for greener pastures. Kobe puts those rumors to rest in his interview with Yahoo Sports.