Breaking Down the Los Angeles Lakers Head Coaching Finalists

Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

Breaking Down the Los Angeles Lakers Head Coaching Finalists


Breaking Down the Los Angeles Lakers Head Coaching Finalists


Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

After firing head coach Frank Vogel weeks ago, it seems that the Los Angeles Lakers are close to making a coaching hire. It has been reported that they have three people as the finalists, but conflicting reports have also stated that their coaching net may be wider than what is being reported. We don’t have any other names directly being linked to the team so for argument’s sake, let’s assume that the finalist list is accurate. Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham, former Portland Trailblazers coach Terry Stotts, and Golden State Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson are among the three finalists.

The team has stated that it wants a coach who can control the locker room and who can have a direct impact. Many have critiqued the Lakers list of candidates, stating that the names are big enough for a brand like the Lakers. However, maybe that is exactly what this franchise needs. The Lakers need stability and someone who can effectively do the job, not just a gig name. Let’s take a look at how each of the three finalists would work if they were to be hired as the Lakers new coach:

Darvin Ham

Ham seems to be the favorite to land the job and it has been reported that he has impressed the Lakers brass the most during interviews. There is a plan to do another interview with him in person soon as the first round was an interview on zoom. Ham would check all the boxes for the Lakers as he has history with the team, would bring new ideas on how to run things, and has shown he can work with superstar players in the past. It has also been reported that Ham has been given the green light from LeBron James and his agency, Klutch, although no reports have been confirmed.

Ham would signal that the franchise is serious about winning, both in the short term and the long term. He could be the teams head coach for a long time if he has success due to his younger age and ability to connect with players. Ham may not have the name associated with him but he would be a slam dunk for the team.

Terry Stotts

-Stotts has been a head coach in the NBA before, which probably gives him an advantage over Ham. He had a successful stint with the Portland Trailblazers, even helping get them to the Western Conference Finals a few seasons ago. Stotts is known for being an offensive coach, something the Lakers have been lacking for the past few seasons while under the leadership of Vogel. However, Stotts is essentially a glorified offensive Frank Vogel. This isn’t a shot at Stotts because he is a good coach, but the Lakers would be replacing Vogel with a different version of Vogel. That isn’t what they need if they want to get back to the mountain top.

Stotts could help bring the Lakers offensive gameplans into this new era, but the likelihood would be that he would last in Los Angeles for two or three seasons and then be fired. The Lakers would then be back to square one and that isn’t something that ownership, nor the fans want. He wouldn’t be the worst option, but he isn’t the best either.

Kenny Atkinson

Atkinson is the wild card within the Lakers coaching search as not many believed he would become a finalist. He got a bad rap during his last head coaching gig in Brooklyn because it didn’t work out once Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving came to town. He was criticized because he wanted to play center Jarrett Allen over Deandre Jordan. Jordan hasn’t been good for years and he mainly was on the roster because of his friendship with Durant and Irving. Atkinson took the blame for this and ultimately was fired from the position because he didn’t see eye to eye with the stars.

He also gets labeled as only a developmental coach because of the work that he did with the Nets before the stars came in. He is a better coach than just that and he deserves a shot to be a NBA coach again. If he does land the Lakers job, he will need to make sure he can effectivly get LeBron James to work with him. Maybe it’ll be with the Lakers, but he seems to be better served to get his next chance in another location.

Doc Rivers

The Lakers are holding out hope that Rivers becomes available as he is clearly the guy that they want. However, the Philadelphia 76ers don’t seem to be parting with their coach and the Lakers don’t have the draft capital to make any trades for a coach. The Doc Rivers path to the Lakers seems to be sealed and honestly, Laker fans are completely okay with that.

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