The Los Angeles Lakers have made numerous staff additions to Head Coach Frank Vogel’s staff. However, should they add another offensive-minded assistant into the mix?
The Los Angeles Lakers announced numerous assistant coaching hires for the upcoming season. With the lack of experience the Lakers had with former Head Coach Luke Walton and his previous coaching staff, the announcement of the new staff is a breath of fresh air for fans of the purple and gold.
The overall outlook of the new coaching set-up is defensive-minded, tough, and highly experienced. With the likes of Frank Vogel and Lionel Hollins, you have two coaches who preach hard nosed defense, as well as a blue-collar mentality.
With Jason Kidd, you get a coach credited with assisting the current Most Valuable Player of the NBA, Giannis Antetokounmpo, become the dominant player he is today.
Back in January of 2018, Rich Rovito of the Associated Press via NBA.com, quoted the Antetokounmpo saying the following about Kidd:
“He’s a big part of my success in the league.. I’m loyal to the people I work with. I love him as a person. I care about him as a person.”Giannis Antetokounmpo
Phil Handy provides the Lakers with a highly respected, and admired, player and skills development coach who already has previous ties to LeBron James during their time with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Last but not least, Mike Penberthy, the Lakers finally get the shooting coach they have needed for quite some time. With all these new additions, the purple and gold have finally surrounded LeBron James, and now Anthony Davis, with a staff and roster capable of competing for a championship.
While all these coaching changes have been welcomed with open arms, there seems to be a lack of offensive-minded coaching on the staff.
With Frank Vogel, Jason Kidd and Lionel Hollins not being renowned for their offensive sets or being innovators on the attacking side of the ball, one wonders whether the Lakers could benefit from adding an offensive-minded assistant coach.
With that being said, here are 3 options for the Lakers should they decide to go down the route of adding an additional coach.
Remove Jeff Hornacek‘s tenure with the New York Knicks, and you have a coach who plays a fast, up-tempo style of basketball.
The Knicks experiment was doomed from the very beginning, with the shadow of the all-time great Phil Jackson in the front office. Jackson demanded several triangle offense sets to be ran, which made it extremely hard for Hornacek to implement the system he wanted.
It was the perfect storm of having an incompetent front office, not having the necessary players to fit the system, and having your boss demanding you to alter your system to a style of play that in the modern NBA is outdated.
You only need to look at Hornacek’s time with the Phoenix Suns to get an accurate view of what his brand of offense can look like.
In theory, Hornacek would have been an ideal hire last season to Luke Walton’s staff, as his style of play would have thrived. Especially with the likes of Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram being able to push the pace, using their young legs, and ability, to run his system to perfection.
Hornacek’s offense would fit perfectly with this current Lakers roster too. With 3-point shooting, floor spacing, and pick-and-roll sets being of high importance, the Lakers have just the right personnel for this to work.
In Anthony Davis, you have a player who is an elite roller to the rim, in LeBron James you have an elite pick-and-roll passer, in Danny Green you have an elite pick-and-pop shooter, and in Kyle Kuzma you have another 3-point shooter capable of punishing teams if you leave him open.
Jeff Hornacek is currently unemployed, and he might be an ideal person to bring into the fold to add an offensive weapon to the coaching staff.
While he is not an immediate choice when you think of offensive-minded coaches, Dave Joerger in his final year with the Sacramento Kings did show potential to adapt to changing circumstances.
Similar to Lionel Hollins and Frank Vogel, Joerger hung his hat on being a defensive-minded, grit-and-grind Head Coach. His idea of winning was slowing the game down, grinding out the opponent, and playing tough defense.
However, last season with the Kings, Joerger was able to see that the players under him did not suit the style of play he preaches. They possessed no defensive anchor to build around, and asking a young energetic point guard like De’Aaron Fox to slow down seemed counter-productive.
Rather than sticking to the system he knew, Joerger changed his ways to accommodate his players. As a result, the Kings played some of the fastest, most attractive basketball we saw last season. Not since the days of Jason Williams, Mike Bibby, and Chris Webber had the Kings been so exciting to watch.
If Dave Joerger can bring a similar philosophy to the Lakers this season, and adapt to the players to fit in with the system implemented, then Los Angeles might be a great landing spot for him.
He might just be the right man to inject even more speed and excitement into this solid roster.
Considered an offensive-minded genius in the college ranks, Fred Hoiberg struggled greatly during his time with the Chicago Bulls.
During his time coaching Iowa State, Hoiberg’s teams were renowned for their floor spacing, with each member capable of pulling up from the 3-point line, this forced opposing teams to give a lot of respect on the defensive end to each player as it could cost them a wide-open 3-pointer if they not.
Whilst at the Bulls he was never given the roster to fully implement his vision as a coach. With the likes of Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose, who were excellent players in their own right, they simply did not fit the system in which he wanted to play.
While he eventually was able to construct a roster similar to what he did with Iowa State, it was too little too late, and he was replaced internally by Jim Boylan.
While the Lakers are not constructed like Hoiberg’s Iowa State teams, they do have several above-average 3-point shooters, who with the right offensive system, could do a lot of damage.
With Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Danny Green, and Avery Bradley all being capable of making shots from beyond the arc, and the introduction of Phil Handy along with Mike Penberthy, the Lakers could be a dramatically improved 3-point shooting team this season.
Add Hoiberg to the mix and you could have potentially an elite 3-point shooting team, with great floor spacing.
Hoiberg is the only coach of the 3 named who currently has a job, he is the Head Coach for the University of Nebraska. This would make his potential appointment difficult, however, the purple and gold have been known to splash the cash to get who they want. It might not be impossible to wrestle him back to the professional ranks once more.
With such an array of defensive-minded coaches on this Lakers staff, adding one of the above could lead to the coaching staff becoming more well-rounded.
With the likes of Ty Lue joining the Los Angeles Clippers, along with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Lakers should be willing to add talent wherever they can to gain an edge.
By Jonathan Kiernan (@KiernanJonathan)
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