Lakers meet with coaching candidate Terry Stotts who is intrigued by Russell Westbrook
With the franchise’s search for a coach winding down, is the former Blazer’s coach the right man to get the best out of a team and a player who vastly under performed last season?
Having narrowed their search for a new coach to three candidates, the Lakers actually met with one of them for a personal interview this week.
Lakers interview Terry Stotts again
After it was widely reported that the Lakers had shortened their list of potential picks for their vacant head coaching post, the next step expected was in person interviews. With that, It now appears that the franchise has begun that process. According to reports though Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham, former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts and Golden State Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson are the three finalists in the running, the Lakers got things off and running with another interview of Stotts.
It’s understood that on Tuesday Stotts met with Los Angeles again on Tuesday. Where Ham and Atkinson are concerned, it is believed that they will both have similar meetings in the near future as the Lakers look to finally conclude a search for a coach which has been going on for almost two months. Interestingly Stotts stated that he is intrigued by the opportunity to work with Russell Westbrook and feels he can make him more comfortable with his role. Westbrook of course has become one of the key conditions in the negotiations with coaching candidates as the team flatly stated any new coach would have to address the point guard’s role.
Are the three coaches worthy of the Los Angeles Lakers?
Whether any of the three candidates are the right fit for LA is surely going to be debated, but there is one thing that is certain and that’s the notion that all of them are coveted coaches on the market right now. There have been whispers of interest from the Charlotte Hornets, which of course would be an interesting project to join with their young up and coming team, however, one has to imagine that the opportunity to take a potential championship squad with the likes of LeBron James and Anthony Davis will be somewhat more tempting. Indeed, while Westbrook has created a headache for the franchise, it would be a mistake to write them off as contenders. With some tinkering during the off-season, LA could definitely have a roster that wins. So let’s take a look at the candidates:
Where Ham is concerned, the Lakers post would represent his first head coaching job ever. As an assistant to Mike Budenholzer, Ham actually followed the Bucks’ head coach back in 2018 when they both arrived from the Atlanta Hawks. He’s been credited with being an integral part of the coaching staff and more over had a central role in the development of two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, which in turn led to an NBA championship last season.
Presently the Warriors assistant coach, Atkinson was actually with the Clippers for the two seasons prior to this one. Before that he was the coach of the Brooklyn Nets where he spent four seasons and impressively managed to improve his record in each campaign. Interestingly, he was dismissed from his post after the 2019-20 season for what were deemed personality clashes with stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
That brings us lastly but not at all least to the man in question, Terry Stotts. To begin with Stotts hasn’t had a coaching job since he and the Blazers parted company at the end of the 2020-21 season. In his time in Portland he managed to guide them to the Western Conference finals and actually only missed the playoffs once in his nine year period at the reigns. Prior to that Stotts was part of the coaching unit that took guided the Dallas Mavericks to their 2011 championship. Though he’s clearly an offensive minded coach - something the Lakers needed - he’s consistently received criticism for his approach to defense or rather a lack there of. With that said, couldn’t he address that by simply appointing more defensive oriented assistants? For the moment we can only wait to see with the Lakers - according to reports - expected to conduct yet another round of interviews with the short listed trio in the near future.