Lakers to officially hire Eddie Jordan, let the Princeton experiment begin

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We told you a while back that the Lakers were talking to and moving to hire former Wizards and 76ers coach Eddie Jordan.

Now that is very close to reality, and they are bringing in veteran NBA coach Bernie Bickerstaff and former Magic coach Steve Clifford in what is a total overhaul of the assistant coaching ranks, reports Kevin Ding at the Orange County Register.

Usually assistant coach hires are not overly fascinating in the NBA, but in this case Jordan is coming to usher in a Princeton offense era for the Lakers that promises to be interesting.

The Princeton offense makes a lot of sense for Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol — its principles are not radically different from the triangle offence. The Princeton offense is really a series of three-man and two-man offenses on one side of the court, with constant motion and cuts off the ball. The idea is always to keep floor spacing through movement.

The Princeton offense wants a center that can both score in the post, is a deft passer and is a threat to knock down a 16-foot jumper from the elbow. That describes Pau Gasol perfectly. Kobe could work off cuts and curls to get catch-and-shoot looks that will be more reminiscent of what he got out of the triangle, the offense Kobe won five rings running.

But where do Steve Nash and Dwight Howard fit in? Those two are a natural and deadly pick-and-roll combination, and Nash’s shooting is a needed part of the Princeton offense. But the fits are not as natural.

Will the Lakers run a hybrid Princeton? Use it some trips down and not others? Run pick-and-roll and up-tempo offense early in the clock and settle into a Princeton set (which Phil Jackson had the Lakers do for a couple years with the triangle)?

Lots of questions and some interesting potential answers. How the Lakers evolve this season will be something to watch. They have the pieces to be a contender, but they have to fit them all together now.