As the Los Angeles Lakers’ troubled season ended with a whimper in their first-round elimination on Sunday, the Lakers front office was already in attack mode. Eager to avoid another winless playoff appearance next season, questions have arisen about whether Mike D’Antoni is the right coach to make the adjustments needed for a group that suffered injuries and chemistry issues all season long.
Despite the typical secretive approach to their plans, the Los Angeles Lakers have made public their intention to shop around candidates whose systems can match the Laker personnel better than D’Antoni’s has (read ‘hasn’t’). And the selections that Buss and company are mulling over just might surprise you:
Although early criticisms of Coach Carter cite similarities between him and former Laker Head Coach Mike Brown (the sports media can do a lot with two bald black men who coach basketball), the true challenge that Carter faces in the NBA is one of egos. The system Carter revolutionized, in which allowing players to participate hinges on their commitment to academics, doesn’t resonate in a system where illiteracy is virtually encouraged by the corporate overlords of the sport.
But with that major strike against him, we can all agree on one reason to see Coach Carter on the NBA sidelines: hearing a coach refer to people as ‘motherf_____s’ in every post game press conference would be delightful.
2 decades removed from his banishment from college basketball, Coach Bell has continued to lead young men at the high school level. And with the NBA’s focus on drafting potential over polished talent, Bell is more than qualified to relate to and develop LA’s younger players, upon whom the team’s long-term future depends.
Bell should have no problem putting his past scandal behind him, what with how transparent the profit motives are at the professional level. And the Lakers would surely welcome the opportunity to say they hired the guy who coached has already coached a Superman to victory.
The Los Angeles Lakers are no strangers to making history. And at 114 years young, Coach Dale would become the oldest coach of any professional sport since Dying was removed from the Olympics.
Dale’s leadership of a bunch of determined but physically inferior hayseeds to victory over what would now be described, in politically correct terms, as an ‘urban powerhouse’ remains one of the more miraculous events in sports. Throw in the hologram of an unapologetically alcoholic assistant coach, and the Lakers could set the table for a saga that their uniformed band of aging and inexperienced bandits may be able to come out of on top.
The sports media would have a field day with this hire. Edwina Franklin made waves as the diehard Knicks fan who became the Knicks head coach in the mid-‘90s. What was originally dismissed as a typical New York publicity stunt eventually became a legitimate case for female head coaches in the NBA. Franklin might be using Los Angeles to dust off her star before returning to the Big Apple to succeed Mike Woodson. And in normal circumstances, Jimmy Buss and the Lakers organization might take exception to being a coach’s second choice. Alas, they are in little position to be choosy. In politically correct terms, they’re a f___ing mess.
“It doesn’t matter how you play the game, it’s whether you win or lose. And even that doesn’t make all that much difference.”
Now THAT’S a man who understands how the NBA really works. The nonchalant Coach Finstock could be the right catalyst for a team whose culture settles for nothing less than championships. Phil Jackson’s Zen-like leadership translated into 11 Larry O’Brien trophies, so analysts all around the league are speculating about the extent to which Finstock’s carefree style will rekindle that winning magic in L.A. Doesn’t hurt that Finstock has worked with mercurial players in the past, either (Metta World Peace may not be a werewolf, but Cookie Monster pajamas count).