As the Los Angeles Lakers continue their search for the team’s next head coach, many candidates have been rumored for the position.
The team has already interviewed Byron Scott, Mike Dunleavy, Alvin Gentry, Kurt Rambis, Lionel Hollins for the job. Los Angeles appears to have their mind set on bringing in s0meone with prior head coaching experience in the NBA and this all but eliminates Derek Fisher from the process.
Fisher was initially seen as a possibility for the position, but as the search for the team’s next head coach continued on it has become evident that the Lakers desire a proven coach that has a track record of success in the legue. In Fisher’s case, he does not have any coaching experience as he will be giving it a try for the first time next season if he does indeed decide to retire this offseason.
With that said, is it the right choice for the Lakers to not include Fisher on their list of potential head coaches?
As hard as that may seem for many Lakers fans, the team needs a proven coach that has shown in the past that he can lead a team to success. With Fisher, he has no experience as a head coach and there is no guarantee that he will be a good one at that. It would be a shot in the dark for Los Angeles to make Fisher the head coach and a decision made with their hearts rather than their minds.
One must remember that the Lakers are heading into arguably the most important offseason in the past decade as the team is in influx with the roster only having four players under contract for next season and a head coach vacancy. That leaves the front office with the responsibility to make the right decisions with the team as they don’t want to have t a repeat of last season, which was the worst regular season that Lakers have had since moving to Los Angeles in 1970.
This give them extra motivation to make the right choice at head coach to go along with the fact that last their two hires in Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni have not worked out for the team. Fisher by many may have looked like a serious candidate for the job given his familiarity with the organization and has had much success in Los Angeles as a player winning five titles in 13 seasons. This along with his strong relationship with Kobe Bryant made him a possible choice for the position, but those two things alone doesn’t necessarily equate success at the position.
It is often a risk with first time head coaches as it is a hit or miss due to the unknown if they will be fully capable to handle the responsibilities that come with the job. Yes, there were a handful of successful first time head coaches this past season in Brooklyn Nets’ Jason Kidd, Charlotte Hornets’ Steve Clifford, Memphis Grizzles’ Dave Joerger, Atlanta Hawks’ Mike Budenholzer, and Phoenix Suns’ Jeff Hornacek, who all made the playoffs with the exception of the Suns narrowly missing the postseason.
But there were also were first time NBA head coaches such as Boston Celtics’ Brad Stevens, Philadelphia 76ers’ Brett Brown, and Sacramento Kings’ Mike Malone that all struggled mightily in their first year. Yes, each of these three teams in the Celtics, 76ers, and Kings did not field a roster that had playoff potential written all over them, but it was the fact that they did not experience much success and that is not a process that the Lakers want to go through again. Los Angeles wants to be back in the playoffs competing for another NBA title, which will mostly likely need a head coach with past experience to do so.
FIsher may have all the intangibles such as being a leader and calming voice in the locker room, but all that does not necessary transfer over to being a successful head coach with a prime example of that being Magic Johnson, who was not only a great leadership but one of the best players of all-time. Johnson gave the head coach gig a shot, but it did not work out as he lasted only lasted 16 games going 5-11.
Although Fisher would be a popular hire because of his ties with the organization, the Lakers realize that he would not be the right hire at the moment. Los Angeles is looking for a quick turnaround of the franchise , and that will ultimately be a process that will not include Fisher.
Photo Credit: Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images
Bob Garcia IV
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