One of Mike Brown’s former assistants in Cleveland will be joining him in Los Angeles. According to Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Lakers have hired former Detroit Pistons head coach as an assistant:
LOS ANGELES — Former Detroit Pistons coach John Kuester has been hired as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers, the team announced Wednesday.
“I’m extremely excited to have John join the team as a member of my coaching staff,” Lakers coach Mike Brown said in a statement. “Having previously worked together in Cleveland, I know what assets he will bring to the team. His ability to effectively communicate with the players while teaching them valuable skills on both ends of the court is a quality that I respect and value. I look forward to working with him again.”
Kuester had been an NBA assistant coach for a long time, but his main claim to fame before becoming head coach of the Pistons was being known as Brown’s “offensive coordinator” during the 2008-09 season, when the Cavs went from being the 17th-best offensive team in the league to the 4th-best offensive team in the league. Throughout the season, Brown, who had the reputation as a less-than-creative offensive coach, openly called Kuester his “offensive coordinator,” which was somewhat unprecedented in the NBA.
Much of that jump in offensive efficiency was due to the Cavs adding Mo Williams and Delonte West during the 2008 off-season, and the Cavalier offense didn’t suffer much when current Warriors assistant Mike Malone took over the “offensive coordinator” spot in the 2009-10 season.
Kuester’s head coaching stint in Detroit was something of an unmitigated disaster, but Brown clearly trusts him to oversee his offense, and his addition to the Lakers’ coaching staff should help Coach Brown as he attempts to replace the legendary Phil Jackson as the head coach of the Lakers.
According to the ultra-reliable Marc Stein of ESPN.com, former Cleveland assistant coach and current New Orleans assistant coach Mike Malone was scheduled to meet with new Lakers head coach Mike Brown today. According to Stein, Brown also wants the recently fired Jon Kuester to join his staff as an assistant coach.
When the Cavaliers won 66 games in the 2008-09 season, Brown was the head coach, Kuester was the “offensive coordinator,” and Malone was known as the “defensive coordinator,” although Brown already had a reputation as a defensive wizard himself. The Cavalier offense improved by leaps and bounds in 08-09, and while that probably had more to do with new personnel around LeBron James than it did with Kuester’s offensive genius, the Cavaliers’ newfound offensive success was enough to get Kuester a head coaching job with the Detroit Pistons, which turned out to be an unmitigated disaster.
After Kuester left, Malone took over as the “offensive coordinator,” and while the Cavs regressed slightly as an offensive team, they were still one of the five best offensive teams in the league and won 61 games while resting their starters during the final games of the season.
After Byron Scott replaced Brown as the head coach of the Cavaliers, Malone went to New Orleans, where he took on the responsibility of improving the team’s defense. Under his watch, the Hornets went from being the 22nd-best defensive team in the league to the 8th-best defensive team in the league.
Clearly, Brown and his favorite assistants know how to coach, and the Lakers could do a lot worse than having a team of Kuester, Malone, and Brown on the sidelines, especially if Brian Shaw sticks around and/or international coaching star Ettore Messina is there as well.