The Los Angeles Laker’s search for a new head coach continues after Mike D’Antoni resigned following a disastrous 2013-14 campaign.
The latest potential candidate to interview for the hot seat is former Memphis Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins, according to Yahoo! Sports:
“Lionel Hollins has emerged as a candidate for the Los Angeles Lakers' coaching job, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Lakers management plans to interview Hollins later this week, league sources said.”
Following interviews with candidates that had some sort of ties to the Lakers - Mike Dunleavy Sr (former coach) and Byronn Scott (former player) - this does seem to be a somewhat strange inclusion but nonetheless, it does make a lot of sense.
Hollins is an excellent coach who led the Grizzlies to their franchise best win total with 56 victories in the 2012-13 season. More importantly though, his team surprised many by making a run all the way to the Western Conference Finals, beating the L.A. Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder in the process.
During his first full season as the head coach, Memphis improved by an incredible 16 wins and added a further six the year after that. With such results, it's no surprise he had the best all-time winning percentage prior to David Joerger’s appointment last year.
Moreover, the team’s defense also improved significantly during his tenure, and in 2012-13 they put it all together as the Grizz ranked first in opponent’s points per game (89.3), placed second in defensive rating, allowing 100.3 points per 100 possessions, in addition to being in the top five in several defensive categories such as opponent's field goal percentage, 3point percentage and rebounds per game.
Despite all the success though, the team sent Hollins packing in what many, himself including, believed to be unfair considering he had taken the organisation to heights were no other coach had ever done.
Nonetheless, he may have the chance to restore his reputation as one of the game’s best coaches with one of the game's all-time greats at his disposal.
No doubt Kobe Bryant would love his attention to detail, his strong leadership and knack for getting wins – Hollins was a part of the Portland Trail Blazers’ NBA title winning squad back in 1977.
However the Lakers may have to make a decision quickly because the Cleveland Cavaliers are also interested in the 60-year old coach.
And given the choice between a team with only three players guaranteed for next season - two of them being are on the wrong side of 30 and are returning from injuries, or a young up and coming team with Kyrie Irving at the helm as well as the No. 1 overall pick in a star studded NBA Draft, I think we all know which offer he would take.
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