Why Dan Hurley is a Better Fit Than JJ Redick for the Lakers

How Dan Hurley could make the Los Angeles Lakers the Lakers we remember
NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament   - National Championship
NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - National Championship / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

First reported by Adrian Wojnarowski early this morning, the Los Angeles Lakers are in “hot pursuit” of 2-time National Champion coach Dan Hurley. Talks could be coming to a head in the coming days. All indications make it seem that the Lakers were planning on hiring a coach after the NBA Finals, but that was when it was believed that JJ Redick was the leading candidate.

What would the Hurley hiring mean for the Lakers?

Everyone knew there had to be shake ups after the firing of Darvin Ham. This team wasn’t going to win just by changing the coach, and if you thought that, you are living in a fantasy world. The Lakers were only going to fire Darvin Ham if they thought they could find someone better. Obvious, right?

JJ Redick wasn’t the answer.

The Hurley hiring would bring in sweeping change, not just for the roster, but the brand as well. The Lakers have tried to find quick fixes to their problems and have given LeBron James free reign. Dan Hurley, at least at Connecticut, was not about superstars or flash. His teams were built for championship runs.

How Does this Affect the Lakers brand?

When Rich Paul, LeBron James’ agent, declared James a free agent, this possible coaching move became even more important.

The Lakers could be about to take their name back if Hurley is hired. Hurley’s philosophy, as mentioned before, is very similar to a Pat Riley or Phil Jackson. Players like Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, and Pau Gasol were never bigger than the brand of the Lakers as a whole. You build a team to play together, not just around one or two players.

LeBron James has been the face of the Lakers, but the Lakers have never really had a “face” in their history. It was about “Showtime” or the “3-peat” Lakers. Stars have been the pieces of the championship pursuit. I believe the rise of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics, and the Oklahoma City Thunder caught the eyes of the ownership. It was time to take their name and culture back and the way to do that is to build it.

Taking Back the League With This Move

You rebuild the Lakers in a way where some Lakers’ fans may not care for. You must develop and create a consistent culture. The past decade has resulted in one single championship for the Lakers.

There has been no identity and a carousel of coaches. Darvin Ham was just the last one on that carousel to get off.

Hurley would not be interested in this job if the status quo wasn’t going to change. The Lakers see an opportunity here. There is no real face of the NBA right now. There is no dominant team. With that in flux, the Lakers believe this is the time to return to the top of the pack. The Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors are both in flux and the Los Angeles Clippers will never be the star team of Los Angeles no matter who they sign.  The goal is to become the shining beacon of the state first, then the Western Conference, and, finally, the NBA as a whole.

LeBron James
Los Angeles Lakers v Sacramento Kings / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

Moves That Must Happen to Facilitate the Change

LeBron James, eventually, will have to go. It may not be next year, but Father Time will always be undefeated. James is now wanting to play with his son. He’s fine with not winning championships anymore. He’s almost 40. I definitely don’t blame him for not focusing on that.

That isn’t the Lakers, however.

Anthony Davis still can be a significant piece, but he has shown he can’t be the main pillar for a championship, and that isn’t because of him. Unless your last name is Jokic, no big man has been the main name of any championship franchise since Shaquille O’Neal, and even then he had Kobe or Dwayne Wade on his championship teams. Derek Lively and Al Horford are the centers in this year’s NBA Finals. That should show you why Davis can’t be the focus.

Anthony Davis
Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets - Game Five / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

It will be very interesting on how the Lakers will build this team, but Dan Hurley and Rob Pelinka will be at the reins of this and not LeBron James. They must get younger and they must get their identity back to be successful.

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