LAL Assistant Coach Roles

With Friday’s announcement of Mike Brown’s new assistant coaching staff, we took a look at where each addition might focus in the 2012-13 season:

Lakers fans may remember Jordan as a player on the 1982 title-winning team, but he’s best known as a coach in the NBA headlined by a six-year stint with the Washington Wizards from 2003-09 and for his use of the Princeton Offense. As Brown has discussed this summer, the team will be incorporating the Princeton into the rest of the offense*, and Jordan happens to be an expert who learned from its creator, Princeton’s own Pete Carril. Last season, assistant John Kuester was charged with some of the offensive system, but the team is heading down a new road to best take advantage of the personnel. Kuester has been reassigned as an advanced NBA scout and will be based on the East Coast.
*Highlighted by Steve Nash pick and rolls, and post ups for Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant as well as Metta World Peace at times.

Bickerstaff first hired Mike Brown back in 1992, Brown’s first job in the NBA as a video intern for Denver, with the inverse now occurring in 2012. Bickerstaff was the Nuggets President and GM at the time, and went on to coach the Nuggets for three seasons (1994-97), out of his 39 total years of coaching experience. Most recently, Bickerstaff was an assistant with Portland. Bickerstaff is expected to take on part of the role occupied last season by Ettore Messina – who along with fellow 2011-12 Lakers assistant Quin Snyder will be coaching CSKA Moscow next season – by looking at the big picture of the team, and not focusing on any particular area. Neither Bickerstaff nor Jordan will likely scout specific teams to set up game plans, leaving that duty for new hire Steve Clifford along with returning coaches Chuck Person and Darvin Ham.

Having spent the last five seasons as an assistant coach in Orlando under head coach Stan Van Gundy and alongside new Lakers center Dwight Howard, Steve Clifford will step into a role for Mike Brown occupied in part by Snyder last season. In addition to setting up specific game plans for a third of L.A.’s opponents, Clifford will work with both the defense and the offense, not necessarily focusing on one or the other. His previous NBA coaching stints came as an assistant with the Knicks (2000-03) and Rockets (2003-07).

Person and Ham will continue their respective roles from last season. Person focuses more on the defensive end (plus beating players in three-point shooting contests) and Ham more like Snyder (then) and Clifford (now) on both ends while also working with the big men.