The Lakers need not go out and throw cash at the first guy who sounds appealing. It’s still arguably one of the most important moves a team must make in the wake of failure. Choosing a coach can set the direction of the franchise, and with a core group that made three consecutive finals appearances together, it can cause major problems if done so hap-hazardly.
Before they make any trades or free agent signings, selecting a coach has to be the Lakers No. 1 priority, and by doing so sooner rather than later, it will give the Lakers the focus they need by clearing away a major cloud of uncertainty.
They need a coach who’s going to be able to tell Kobe Bryant, “no,” because the two-time Finals MVP is nearing that point in his career where he is going to have to take a back seat to the team’s younger, more athletically capable players. Unlike the 2004-05 Lakers squad, Kobe Bryant cannot be running the team — it just doesn’t work. It will cause major locker room rifts, and could ultimately set the stage for an unfavorable end to his illustrious career.
The Lakers coach must also be committed to defense. This team is beyond capable offensively, but as we see each and every year — if a team’s defense isn’t a top asset, they will not win the championship. In times of offensive struggles, games and even playoff series can be won with pure, hard-fought defense. It simply takes effort, and for the Lakers, it apparently takes a lot on the line for them to exhibit this mentality, because realistically, the last game in which they played a full 48-minutes of impeccable defense, was during Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics.
The suitors are in place for the Lakers to select, and I don’t envision the crop getting any more appealing. With that being said, Lakers management must make its decision. During a time where complacency has been running strong amongst the team, it’s time for a newfound sense of hunger and focus to be instilled in the Purple and Gold of Tinseltown.