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Lakers assistant coaching candidate profile: John Kuester

June 3, 2011 |  5:28 pm


Below is the third post in a series looking at potential Lakers assistant coaches. We'll look at John Kuester, who, The Times' Broderick Turner recently reported, probably would be hired by new Lakers Coach Mike Brown for his staff should the Detroit Pistons let Kuester go from his head coaching position.

Background:  Kuester's job security remains in question, Turner reported, in part because of a player revolt last season that entailed five of them skipping practice. The Detroit Free Press' Vince Ellis also wrote that Kuester isn't expected to return for the final season of a three-year deal. Kuester has coached the Pistons for two seasons with a combined 57-107 record, no playoff appearances, and plenty of turmoil, including several players' reportedly laughing when he earned an ejection and drawing comparisons to Sean Penn because he's the Dead Man Walking. Kuester has had several assistant coaching stints, including the University of Richmond (1980-81), Boston University (1981-83), the Boston Celtics (1995-97), Philadelphia 76ers (1997-2003), Detroit  (2003-04), the New Jersey Nets (2004-05), the 76ersagain (2005-06), the Orlando Magic (2006-07) and the Cleveland Cavaliers (2007-09).

Kuester's head coaching experience includes succeeding Rick Pitino  at Boston U, as the youngest coach in NCAA Division I history, with a two-year stint from 1983-85, and then moving to George Washington from 1985-1990. In the 1988-89 season Kuester's Colonials went 1-27. He finished with a 81-122 record coaching college basketball.

Connection to Brown: Kuester was an assistant under Brown with the Cavaliers from 2007-2009 where he was assigned to be the team's "offensive coordinator."

Style: Kuester has coached some of the league's elite players, including LeBron James, Allen Iverson, Jason Kidd, Dwight Howard, Vince Carter, Dikembe Mutombo, Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace  and Ben Wallace. But ESPN's Stephen A. Smith says that several Detroit players didn't respect Kuester because he was afraid of standing up to players, a quality that wouldn't bode well with the Lakers. Nonetheless, Cavs the Blog's John Krolik credited Kuester for overseeing the Cavaliers' offense, helping them improve in using their frontcourt players on the weak side to free up their backcourt. 

Photo: If Pistons Coach John Kuester, shown during a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, is not retained by Detroit, he's likely to be a target of Lakers Coach Mike Brown to be a top assistant. Credit: Jason Miller / US Presswire / March 25, 2010.

--Mark Medina

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