As the 2014 NBA Draft draws nearer and nearer (we’re inside of one month now), there are still some teams that have slightly more pressing concerns, like front offices that haven’t hired coaches. The Los Angeles Lakers are going to look to trade their No. 7 pick if they can: They’re not waiting to develop talent while Kobe Bryant’s final years are at stake. Instead, the team is going to search for a head coach that can navigate them out of the strange netherworld of the draft lottery and back into the postseason, where the fans and ownership are accustomed to residing.
In order to do that, though, the Lakers are going to need to bring in more than just a competent coach –they’re going to need a coach who can work beyond his preferred system. That was always the biggest knock on Mike D’Antoni, who had built up a pair of great teams in his image in Phoenix and in New York (that’s before the Carmelo trade, with Danilo Gallinari at the PF spot) but wasn’t able to adapt to the talents of Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant. We’re not going to spend much time with Mike Brown, who seems to have people skills that vastly exceed his coaching acumen.
Word on the street from the rumor mill and from Las Vegas — you can bet on everything, remember, and the sports books have put down odds on who they think is most likely to take the gig — has consistently come down to these five candidates, so we’re going to examine their various credentials and offer some analysis over whether they’d be the right coach for the job.