Los Angeles Lakers: Is Kurt Rambis Mike D’Antoni’s Assistant or Replacement?


Oct.1, 2012, 2012; El Segundo, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) is interviewed by Kurt Rambis during media day at the Los Angeles Lakers Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Kurt Rambis officially rejoined the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, along with Johnny Davis, as assistants for Mike D’Antoni. Who is Johnny Davis? He has been coaching or in front offices of the NBA for the las 23 years. He most recently served as an assistant for the Toronto Raptors for 3 seasons, ans spent a total of 3 seasons combined as the 76ers and Orlando Magic’s Head Coach.

But of course the name that jumps out at Lakers fans is Kurt Rambis, who was both an assistant and player for the Lakers. The one-time owner of one of the most famous mustache’s in LA, Rambis has been a very visible part of 6 Lakers Champonships: 4 as a player and 2 as an assistant coach.

Rambis most recently worked as a studio analyst for the new Lakers home, Time Warner Cable SportsNet, before working for ESPN/ABC during the 2013 NBA Playoffs. A previous ESN analyst and Minnesota Timberwolves Head Coach, Rambis has spent plenty of time both in broadcasts and on the bench since his playing days, and is a part of the narrowing line between TV analysts and NBA coaches.

As the two coaches were introduced Monday, Mike D’Atoni said

"Kurt is a great basketball mind, extremely good at working with big men and his experience as a head coach in this league is going to prove very helpful to our staff."

Mike D’Antoni is right, he will be a very helpful addition to the staff, especially if the coaching staff becomes his coaching staff.

Kurt Rambis’ hiring represents a very significant change in philosophy for Jim Buss. It is widely speculated that Jim Buss wants nothing to do with Phil Jackson and anyone who is loyal to the best coach in the history of professional team sports. Mike D’Antoni is Jim Buss’ guy. Kurt Rambis’ hiring represents a significant departure from Jim Buss’ previously stubborn philosophy.

The Lakers are setting themselves up for a big offseason in 2014, but they are in trouble in the 2013-14 season. Kurt Rambis is a no-brainer addition to a Lakers team lacking an identity. Rambis addition to the present Lakers squad unites 3 generations of Lakers–2 of which are NBA Champion generations. Rambis can bring experience from the up-tempo success of the “Showtime” Lakers to Mike D’Antoni’s free-flowing “system,” but he also is one of the few with the slow-down experience of “The Triangle” offense. Rambis has it all.

Kurt Rambis will unquestionably help Mike D’Antoni, and give credibility to the coaching staff with Lakers fans. But if the Lakers struggle like they did last year, there is now a top caliber candidate to replace him already on the payroll. Bernie Bickerstaff has nothing on Kurt Rambis. Don’t get too comfortable Mike D’Antoni.

With this new gig in a familiar setting, Rambis leaves the TWC El Segundo studio but still gets to stay where his kids grew up in the LA area. And even if this move is not a power grab to possibly be the Lakers Head Coach, he at least gets away from studio analyst, “The Coach” Dave Miller. Always a smart move.