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Category: Coaching candidate profile

Assistant coach candidate profiles: Ettore Messina

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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Coaching Candidate Profile: Mike Brown

BrownThis is the third post in a series of posts focusing on the Lakers' coaching candidates to replace Phil Jackson.

Candidate: Mike Brown

Coaching background: Brown led the Cleveland Cavaliers to the 2007 NBA Finals and two Eastern Conference Finals appearances through his five seasons where he compiled a 272-138 record and won NBA Coach of the Year honors in 2009. Despite leading the Cavaliers to a league-best 66-16 regular season record in the 2008-2009 season, Cleveland fell to the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals. Brown followed up with a league-best 61-21 season, but that only translated into more playoff turmoil where Cleveland fell to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. Brown was then fired after the season before becoming an ESPN NBA analyst.  He also held assistant coach stints with the Washington Wizards (1997-99), San Antonio Spurs (2000-2003) and Indiana Pacers (2003-2005).  

Pros: A number of reports, including ones from The Times' Broderick Turner ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin and's Marc Stein as well as Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears and Adrian Wojnarowski indicate that Brown is in a strong position to be named the Lakers next head coach, possibly as early as Wednesday. Turner mentioned that Brown became a front-runner because Jim Buss, the Lakers' executive vice president of player personnel. was impressed with Brown's "defensive-minded style." Although Lakers guard Kobe Bryant strongly supported Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw for the head coaching job, Bryant said during his exit interview, "If you’re building a championship team, the DNA always has to start on the defensive end of the floor. Always. I’m a firm believer in that. I don’t believe in building a championship team on offense. It has to be built on defense and rebounding. Period."

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Coaching candidate profile: Rick Adelman

Photo: Former Houston Rockets coach Rick Adelman is among the candidates for the Lakers' vacant coaching job. Credit: Jeff Gross / Getty Images / February 1, 2011. Below is the second post in a series focusing on the Lakers' coaching candidates to replace Phil Jackson.

Candidate: Rick Adelman

Coaching background: Adelman, 64, is eighth in all-time victories with a 945-616 record in 20 NBA seasons as a coach with Portland (1988-94), Golden State (1995-97), Sacramento (1998-2006) and Houston (2007-11). Adelman guided the Trail Blazers to the NBA Finals twice, losing in 1990 to the Detroit Pistons and 1992 to Jackson's Chicago Bulls. Despite being the most successful coach with the Sacramento Kings with a 395-229 regular-season record and eight consecutive playoff appearances, Adelman was fired after the 2005-06 season. He then guided the Houston Rockets through four-injury riddled seasons with a 193-135 record and a competitive seven-game series in the 2009 semifinals against the Lakers despite Yao Ming's absence for most of the series and season-ending injuries to Tracy McGrady and Dikembe Mutombo. The Rockets fired Adelman after Houston went 43-39 this season, falling short of a playoff spot by three games despite Ming's appearing in only five contests.

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Coaching candidate profile: Brian Shaw

6a00d8341c506253ef01538e76cf50970b-320wiBelow is the first post in a series focusing on the Lakers' coaching candidates to replace Phil Jackson.

Candidate: Brian Shaw

Coaching background: The Lakers had strongly encouraged Shaw to get into coaching, allowing him to join meetings during his time with the Lakers from 1999-2003 where he'd learn how the coaching staff put its scouting reports together. But instead of immediately joining the coaching ranks after retiring in 2003, Shaw told The Times in January that Lakers Coach Phil Jackson told him to spend a year scouting the team's coastal opponents. Jackson required that out of Shaw because of his concern that he remained too closely connected with the players on the current roster and they may not give him the respect he deserves.  

After a year of scouting, Shaw joined the Lakers' coaching staff in 2005 as an assistant for five seasons. Part of his responsibilities in the 2010-2011 season entailed putting together game preparations for contests against the Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Timberwolves, Orlando Magic, Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls where he compiled a 14-6 record. 

Pros: The Lakers are inevitably going to go through a transition period without Jackson. But Shaw's presence helps minimize that because of his familiarity with both the personnel and the triangle. Those arguing that Shaw's lack of head coaching experience will hurt him should be comforted to know that doesn't really provide a definitive indicator on their success. Consider Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau guided the Chicago Bulls to the Eastern Conference finals and won the 2011 NBA Coach of the Year in only one season after spending his 21-year coaching career as an assistant. Thunder Coach Scott Brooks had only been an assistant coach for the Sacramento Kings, Denver Nuggets and Oklahoma City before taking over the Thunder on an interim basis following P.J. Carlesimo's firing on Nov. 21, 2008. But Brooks immediately helped guide the Thunder to two consecutive playoff appearances. One only has to harken to Jackson and Pat Riley's coaching career to see that they only needed an opportunity to show their lack of head coaching experience meant nothing.

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