Below is the first post in a series looking at the potential Lakers assistant coaches. We look first at Ettore Messina, whom The Times' Broderick Turner and Hoopsworld's Eric Pincus reported might be added by Mike Brown as an assistant coach. Turner noted that the position might be part-time.
Background: Messina's recent stint has entailed coaching Real Madrid the last two seasons after coaching CSKA Moscow from 2006 to 2009 and leading them to two Euroleague titles (2006, 2008). Messina also won the 1998 and 2001 Euroleague with Virtus Bologna of Italy, with the 2001 team featuring San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili. Messina, who coached the Italian national team from 1993-97, has picked up numerous awards, including European Coach of the Year (1998), Italian Coach of the Year (1990, 1993, 1998, 2001, 2005) and the Euroleague Coach of the Year (2006, 2008). Numerous reports indicate Messina resigned from his position at Real Madrid because he would like to be a head coach in the NBA but believes he needs experience as an assistant coach first.
Connection to Brown: The Cavaliers recruited Messina, according to New York Post's Peter Vecsey, to "partake in all team functions," including giving Brown pointers on implementing his offense. Pincus noted that Brown often visited Messina for two- to three-week intervals. Messina also helped Brown set up his offense with Cleveland.
Style: Pincus describes Messina as "tough" with a "strong personality," noting that he often calls his team's plays and has developed post players well. The Times' Randy Harvey noted in a story in 1994 that when Messina was hired as the coach of the Italian national team that he cut several of the team's stars and replaced them with players with less talent but fit better into what Harvey called Messina's "disciplined system." And Sports Illustrated's Ian Thomsen describes Messina's efforts to build Real Madrid into a championship team: "He was trying to create an environment of humility that would eventually position them to succeed, but he was convinced the habits couldn't form at a club that wasn't invested in the process."
-- Mark Medina
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