Newly-hired Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis says he intends to focus on improving the team’s defense, according to Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times.
The hiring of former Minnesota Timberwolves head coach as an assistant coach has been speculated about since the firing of then-Lakers head coach Mike Brown at the beginning of last season. Mike D’Antoni should have always been considered as a coach who needed strong assistants. His effectiveness as an offensive coach who runs the pick-and-roll as well as anyone is well-documented. Having Steve Nash running the point just makes it that much stronger, but his career as a coach has not been recognized for being able to stop any other teams’ offense.
In comes the Rambis factor. The 55-year-old Cupertino, Calif. native has never been known for creating points, but he has the reputation of creating defensive assignments for players that make it hard for opposing teams to score. Rambis’ defensive repertoire can be traced back to when he was playing for the Lakers himself.
“In talking with Mike [D’Antoni], he knows that that’s kind of my focal point,” said Rambis. “Last year, it was almost as if they were trying to out-score their opponent rather than try to win the battle at both ends of the court. In order to give this team a great chance to win they’re got to figure out how to be productive at both ends.”
Rambis’ words are a reassurance of the obvious – his role with the Lakers has and will always be the same, and it shouldn’t be better any other way.
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