Evaluating Lakers Head Coaching Candidates: Sean Sweeney
Sean Sweeney
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been several weeks since the Los Angeles Lakers were eliminated from the 2024 NBA Playoffs by the Denver Nuggets, and the team is finally ramping up their efforts to find their next head coach.

Shortly after former head coach Darvin Ham and his staff were let go, a list of candidates surfaced that included several veteran options and lead assistants around the league. The most notable experienced choices were Tyronn Lue and Mike Budenholzer, though the former is expected to sign an extension with the L.A. Clippers while the latter accepted the role with the Phoenix Suns.

With those two off the board, the Lakers’ focus presumably shifted to ESPN analyst JJ Redick and a host of lead assistants. Redick is considered the early favorite in the process, but that shouldn’t stop Los Angeles from doing their due diligence on the remaining candidates.

Of the assistant coaches named, an intriguing name that came up was Dallas Mavericks assistant Sean Sweeney. Sweeney has worked almost exclusively with Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd as he spent time with him on the Milwaukee Bucks and later the Brooklyn Nets.

Kidd was on the Lakers’ sideline when they won the 2020 NBA Championship as a lead assistant under then-head coach Frank Vogel, so Sweeney is a logical target for the organization given his ties to the former star point guard. Aside from his tenure with the Bucks and Nets, Sweeney also served three years as an assistant coach with the Detroit Pistons under Dwane Casey.

Like most coaches that didn’t play in the NBA, Sweeney got his start in the league as a video coordinator with the Nets before being promoted to an assistant coach prior to the 2013-14 season. Before that, he was a video coordinator for the University of Northern Iowa and the director of basketball operations at the University of Evansville.

Lakers candidate Sean Sweeney’s strengths

Since working with Kidd, Sweeney’s gotten the opportunity to work with superstars like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, which lends some optimism that he could lead LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Also, the Mavericks were the best defense after the trade deadline and have continued to dominate that side of the floor in the playoffs so he could theoretically have the same effect on the Lakers if he were hired.

Lakers candidate Sean Sweeney’s weaknesses

The biggest hesitation with Sweeney is the same as it is for the other lead assistants in that he would be a first-time head coach with massive amounts of pressure to deliver a title immediately.

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