In the last two decades, 16 teams changed coaches, gave a majority of their minutes to returning players the following season and won 15 more games than the year prior (or equivalent in lockout-shortened season).
Only one of those 16 deposed coaches has gotten another non-interim NBA head-coaching job.
The Lakers will introduce him today.
His lead assistant is also one of the 16. Another member of the 16 was instrumental in hiring them.
Frank Vogel, Jason Kidd and Kurt Rambis make quite a trio.
The Lakers’ new head coach, Vogel is only one year removed from guiding Orlando to a 25-57 record. The Magic’s roster seemed to be the main culprit when they fired him, but Steve Clifford led a similar roster to a 42-40 record. That certainly didn’t reflect well on Vogel.
Ditto how the Bucks responded to Kidd’s departure. After going 44-38 and losing in the first round last season, Milwaukee ascended to 60-22 and is leading the Eastern Conference finals this season under Mike Budenholzer. Yet, Kidd – who’ll assist Vogel – was clearly a priority for the Lakers.
In 2011, the Timberwolves finished 17-65 and fired Rambis. Minnesota went 26-40 the following year under Rick Adelman. After bouncing around other jobs, Rambis is now playing a leading role in Rob Pelinka’s front office.
Every team changes between seasons. Players come and go. Those who stay get older and develop. Injuries happen inconsistently. The NBA hardly runs controlled experiments on coaches.
But these situations don’t instill confidence in Vogel, Kidd and Rambis. That they’re all working together now is remarkable.
Vogel has the most prominent role. Fortunately for the Lakers, he’s also the one least likely to be defined by his fixed-after-he-left tenure. Before Orlando, Vogel had plenty of success with the Pacers.
Kidd also did some positive things with the Bucks. Rambis…
People can learn from their mistakes. Second chances are sometimes warranted.
But the Lakers have LeBron James, whose prime years are dwindling. They’re a prestigious franchise in a premier market. High-end coaches and executives are particularly important and attainable.
The Lakers have given power to this group – maybe for good reason, maybe not.
I hope they explain why today, though there are several other issues they’ll have to address, too.