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Category: Jim Cleamons

Lakers Q&A: Chuck Person says Lakers will be held more accountable in executing similar defensive scheme

6a00d8341c506253ef0148c81784d0970c-800wiThis is the first post  in an occasional series of Q&As with a member of Mike Brown's coaching staff. Below is an email exchange with Lakers assistant coach Chuck Person, facilitated through the Lakers' media relations staff. 

During your interview with Coach Brown, what points did you emphasize to him and what questions did he want to know from you?

"The hiring was pretty much immediate because of the relationship I had with Mike working with him in Indiana under Rick Carlisle. He asked me if I wanted to be here and I told him yes because I like the Lakers organization, what this team’s about and what type of players we have moving forward to try to win a championship again in the future."

What was your overall approach to the interview in terms of selling yourself?

"It wasn’t a matter of me selling myself because our philosophies are similar both offensively and defensively. I know what Mike Brown’s approach is to game planning and implementing his system because of his days in San Antonio. Then we worked together in Indiana, so I am familiar with his approach and I can continue to carry those things on while working for him."

What responsibilities has Brown assigned to you? This can range from any opponents he’s put you in charge of scouting or certain team responsibilities. What’s your overall philosophy on those areas you’re going to oversee?

"It will be different from what Phil [Jackson] had us do. Phil gave us each certain teams to scout, where Mike has us each learn the entire league. Our scouting responsibilities will be on a game-by-game basis, we’ll just rotate it that way. In terms of personal assignments, we are just going to coach the team. All coaches are required to know both sides of the ball; obviously we have our different strengths we bring to the table. My strength is on the defensive side of the ball. The system we are going to implement will be similar to last season because it’s a system I learned from Mike Brown. So there won’t be much change in the defensive philosophy."

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Sporting News ranks 1971-72 and 1986-87 Lakers as second- and third-greatest NBA teams


The headline pretty much writes itself.

Based on interviews with current and former coaches, players, executives and journalists, the Sporting News determined in its latest issue that the 1971-72 Lakers and the 1985-86 Lakers are the second- and third-greatest NBA teams of all time. The 1995-96 Chicago Bulls were named as the best team for setting a league-record 72-10 regular-season mark en route to their first title of a second three-peat that decade. 

The 1971-72 Lakers featured the team's first NBA championship since moving to Los Angeles, capped off with an NBA-record 33 consecutive victories. "Each game became a new challenge," said former Lakers assistant coach Jim Cleamons, who was a reserve on that Lakers team. "But the challenge wasn't not to lose. It was to find a way to win the game." Among the highlights:

--This season marked the 11th consecutive time Jerry West would average 25 points or more in a season. 

--Wilt Chamberlain, at age 35, appeared in his second-to-last NBA season, averaging 14.8 points at a 64.9% clip and a league-leading 19.2 rebounds and picking up Finals MVP honors.

--Elgin Baylor retired nine games into the season after suffering numerous knee injuries
Overcame the loss of 37-year-old big man Elgin Baylor, who retired nine games into the season after suffering through a spate of knee injuries.

--The Lakers' championship run marked the first season for Bill Sharman at the coaching helm. 

The 1986-87 Lakers finished with a 65-17 record (the second-best mark in franchise history) and beat the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals for the second time that decade. That season featured many memorable moments:

--Magic Johnson, whose "baby skyhook" in Game 4 against Boston became a highlight of that year's Finals, won both regular-season and Finals MVP honors. Michael Cooper was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

--The Lakers made a significant trade on Feb. 13, 1987, shipping Frank Brickowski, Petur Gudmundsson, an '87 first-round draft pick (Greg Anderson) and a 1990 second-round draft pick (Sean Higgins) to the San Antonio Spurs for Mychal Thompson.

--At the Lakers' championship parade, Coach Pat Riley guaranteed another title, a vow that he kept. 

Related Posts

All Things Lakers: 1971-72 season

All Things Lakers: 1986-87 season

All Things Lakers: Magic Johnson

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at

Photo: The 1971-72 Lakers in their team photo. Credit: Los Angeles Lakers

Caught in the Web: Reactions to Mike Brown being hired as Lakers coach

Photos: Former Cleveland Cavaliers Coach Mike Brown. Credits, from top: Doug Pensinger / Getty Images; Mark Duncan, Associated Press; Tony Dejak / Associated Press -- The L.A. Times' Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner report the following nuggets surrounding the Lakers' choice of Mike Brown as the team's head coach: The decision to hire Brown was mostly made by Jim Buss, the team's executive vice president of player personnel  son of owner Jerry Buss; Brown's deal is expected to be worth $4.5 million a season over four years, including a team option, and many in the Lakers' front office were surprised by the hire.

Some more nuggets from Bresnahan and Turner: Brown may not sign a deal until early next week; Brown met Jim Buss on Saturday in Minneapolis and impressed him with a presentation about defensive schemes; people familiar with Kobe Bryant's thinking said he was still pondering the decision; Chuck Person has the best chance to be a part of Brown's coaching staff; and Jim Cleamons will likely interview with the Phoenix Suns to become their defensive coordinator.

-- The Times' Bill Plaschke argues Brown won't be a good fit for the Lakers.

-- The Times' Lisa Dillman details how Brown's arrival means the "demise of the triangle."

-- True Hoop's Henry Abbott explores the myths surrounding Brown. 

--'s David Aldridge explains the philosophy on defense that Brown will bring to the Lakers. 

-- Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick reports that Bryant was "surprised" by the Brown hire and that he was not a part of the decision-making process. 

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Caught in the Web: Jim Cleamons in talks to become Puerto Rican national team coach

Photo: Phil Jackson had the Midas touch when it came to dealing with superstars such as Kobe Bryant, enigmatic figures including Lamar Odom and veterans such as Derek Fisher during his coaching tenure with the Lakers. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times -- The Times' Broderick Turner reports that Lakers assistant coach Jim Cleamons has been contacted by Puerto Rican officials to become the national team coach. Turner also talks to Steve Kerr, Rick Fox and Robert Horry about what qualities the next Lakers coach will need to have to minimize the transition period in the post-Phil Jackson era .

-- Ball Don't Lie's Dan Devine has a photo-caption contest featuring former Laker A.C. Green.

--'s Micah Hart highlights Ron Artest's tweet where he jokes he's replacing Charlie Sheen on "Two and a Half Men."

-- ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky provides a report card on Derek Fisher.

--The Daily News' Elliott Teaford provides a list of free agents the Lakers might want to pursue. 

--'s Mike Trudell previews Andrew Bynum's offseason. 

-- Forum Blue and Gold's Phillip Barnett has a few quick-hit thoughts on the Lakers.

-- Silver Screen and Roll's C.A. Clark wonders whether Brian Shaw is the right man for the job. 

-- Laker Nation's Kevin Figgers argues the Lakers need to hire Jerry Sloan as their next coach. 

--Thanks to colleague Austin Knoblauch for passing this video along from Norm McDonald meeting up with Pau Gasol impersonator Michael Fanter.

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Lakers Q&A: Jim Cleamons expresses interest in coaching at collegiate level

47296635This is the first post of an occasional series that features a Q&A with a member of the Lakers organization. Below is the transcript of a recent conversation with Lakers assistant coach Jim Cleamons, who's in charge of  game preparations for contests against Cleveland, Dallas, Houston, New Jersey, New Orleans, Toronto and Oklahoma City.

Phil [Jackson] remarked at the beginning of training camp that with his expectation that this would be his last season, his hope would be that one of his assistants would be considered to replace him. Would that possibility interest you?

I would be flattered, but I'm at the age where I've got my own bucket list. In all honesty, my bucket list does not include being the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.

What's on your bucket list?

I would like to become a head coach in a nice college environment. I want to go back to where I started. I want to pass on the knowledge I have as a player or coach to the next generation. I want to teach them a way to play. I'm not saying I have the penicillin cure for all, but I've been blessed to be around some outstanding coaches and teachers. I know a system that works incredibly well. I want to leave that with the next generation to follow. A collegiate setting is what I'm looking for.

What do you draw from your experience at Dallas? [Finished with a 24-58 record in the 1996-97 season, 28-72 overall before being fired 16 games into the 1997-98 season]

The thing I learned in Dallas is I can coach in this league. It certainly wasn't the best situation. I had a young basketball team. But the thing I learned is I can coach in this league. Oftentimes, you sit on the bench and you think you can coach and you want to coach but until you get the opportunity, you're never quite certain. That's the one thing I take with me about the Dallas situation. My coaching staff and I know how hard we worked. We didn't have the luck to have management understand the obstacles we were facing and bear with us and walk down that path with us a little bit until we got a roster and we got people that would understand what we were trying to do and give us the time.

I go back and look at Mike Krzyzewski's career. People forget his first two or three years at Duke, he wasn't successful at all [he went 13-29 his first three seasons coaching the Blue Devils from 1980-1983]. But he had a chancellor and athletic director who saw what he was trying to do and knew they were on the right path. Ironically enough, when I interviewed for the job in Dallas, I told the owner [the majority owner was Ross Perot Jr.] right then that I have a five-year plan. Year 1 and Year 2 would be rather lean, but then after that I thought as you build your foundation, you learn, grow and assemble players through draft and trades who have a more keen and acute understanding of what you're trying to do, your performance would become better. But they didn't grant me that time. That's the bittersweet pill of the business that we're in. The thing I also realize is that situations that aren't the best sometimes force you to grow. I'm thankful for the opportunity that the Mavericks gave me. I think I definitely grew from that situation.

Both your time as an assistant with Chicago and the Lakers and your head coaching gig in Dallas involved the triangle offense. If you got a head coaching position at the collegiate level, is that something you'd run?

I think I'd run a lot of things. There's a lot of things there. When we first started running the triple post in Chicago, people didn't think it would be successful. There are 30 teams in this league and there are 30 teams in the league that run a piece of the triple post. It is a system, but you don't have to run it verbatim. Imitation is one of the sincerest forms of flattery. You look at your team and if your team can run it, you'll run it. But you don't have to run all the little nuances. You can certainly teach enough good basketball to use that as your basis to let people know where it came from and it promotes teamwork.

With your history playing for Ohio State and being in the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame, would your ultimate hope be coaching in that state?

The thing I look at is once again is the opportunity to help young people grow. I think that's the most important thing a coach can do. You're not trying to be a father figure or a big brother. But to be in the formative years of the adolescence of young men, it's great to see them grow. There are 30 teams in the NBA and say every team has 15 players. Some of them do. Some of them don't. 30 times 15 -- how many jobs are out there? But what you can talk to young men about is the opportunity to become better people and building a better community and better world and matriculating back to the neighborhood you came from and bringing knowledge back to there. What you're doing is like Johnny Appleseed. Rather than touching 15 guys, to have the ability to be blessed where you can coach eight, nine, ten, 15 years and those guys go back to their communities and you've done what you're trying to do. You're not only teaching them to be better athletes and basketball players, but better people. That's what we need. We need coaches to teach how to work through problems and how to have a great work ethic that gives them the discipline to take those tenets back to their communities and classrooms and families and help to build a better world.

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Poll questions surrounding the Lakers' off-season


There's no such thing as an NBA off-season, especially when the Lakers' title run immediately follows with a championship parade in downtown L.A., exit interviews, the NBA draft and soon enough, free agency. The Lakers' likely won't produce another memorable off-season, such as Kobe Bryant's radio tour or Lamar Odom's prolonged negotiations. And it likely won't catch the nation's attention, as say, where LeBron James ends up. Still, there are plenty of things the team must deal with once free agency begins Thursday.

The first order of business involves Coach Phil Jackson, who said during his exit interview that he's leaning toward retirement, a sentiment he reiterated in Montana on Sunday after giving the keynote speech at the Western Governors' Assn. annual meeting. Still, he's not expected to officially make a decision until later in the week after he receives results from the medical tests he took last week that caused him to miss the championship parade. 

Although the Lakers' core -- Bryant, Odom, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Ron Artest -- are locked into long-term deals, they have several free-agents, including guard Derek Fisher. It appears the team unanimously wants Fisher back. Lakers guard Shannon Brown recently opted out of his contract, though the Lakers own his "early-bird" rights. Guard Jordan Farmar made it abundantly clear he wants out of L.A. And if it were up to D.J. Mbenga, Adam Morrison and Josh Powell, they'd remain Lakers, though The Times' Broderick Turner recently talked to an NBA executive who said the team doesn't plan to keep any of those three players. There's the interesting revelation, as reported by The Times' Mark Heisler, that said the Lakers are considering dumping Odom's salary a season after re-signing him to a four-year deal worth $34 million with a player option in the final season. And there's the contention from General Manager Mitch Kupchak that the team's most urgent need involves the backcourt.

The Lakers will answer at least some of these questions this week, but in the meantime, it's best to hear what fans of the L.A. Times' Lakers blog think will happen. After all, they live and breathe this team. And they'll be the first to attest that there is no such thing as a Lakers' off-season. Based on the poll results below, I'll then follow up with an analysis piece assessing how Lakers fans think everything will transpire once free agency begins.

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Caught in the Web: Previewing Game 4 of Lakers-Thunder series


Lakers links

--The Times' Mike Bresnahan notices a personality switch between Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant.

--A day after NBA commissioner David Stern suggests coaches should zip their criticism on officiating, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson does the opposite.

--The Times' Broderick Turner reports Lakers assistant Jim Cleamons believes the team needs to do a better job in getting the bigs involved in the post.

--The Times' T.J. Simers examines Lamar Odom's post-season disappearing act.'s J.A. Adande assesses the Lakers' chances of landing Chris Bosh in the offseason.

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding explains how Odom plans to turn his play around in Game 4. That includes not getting posterized by OKC guard Russell Westbrook


--ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin finds much intrigue regarding the Bryant-Durant matchup.

--The Orange County Register's Jeff Miller wonders if it's possible the Lakers could lose the series to the Thunder.

--The Riverside Press Enterprise's Gregg Patton believes Stern is making too big of a deal regarding coaches criticizing officials. Patton also details why Bryant considers matching up with Durant as a challenge.'s Mike Trudell has a comprehensive game preview and practice report.

--The Daily News' Elliott Teaford explains how the Lakers can exploit their mismatches in the post. He also reports Jackson's belief that Stern's threats are heavy-handed.

--The Oklahoman's Barry Tramel argues age is wearing down on Bryant. Tramel also has a comprehensive Q&A with Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

--Forum Blue and Gold argues the game will come down to execution.

--Silver Screen and Roll argues Bryant should assume a reduced role.

Thunder links

--The Daily Thunder examines what made Scott Brooks the NBA's Coach of the Year.

--Thunder broadcaster Brian Davis details at Fox Sports how the team has created buzz around the Oklahoma City.

--Ball Don't Lie's Dan Devine gives his take on Kenny Smith's assessment that Durant in three years will be the NBA's best player.

--Fox Sports' Randy Hill examines the series adjustments the Thunder has made on the Lakers.

--The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry explains how OKC's bench has been so effective.

--The Oklahoman's John Rohde wonders if it's possible for the Ford Center crowd to get any louder for Game 4.

--The Oklahoman staff has a detailed notebook, with items ranging from Durant's defense on Bryant, the Lakers taking too many three-pointers, the Thunder's slow starts and whether the Skirvin hotel is haunted.

Tweet of the Day: "Interesting tidbit from ESPN Research: Last 5 times Lakers went up 2-0 in a series, they lost Game 3 all 5 times. Won all 5 series, too" - STEIN_LINE_HQ ('s NBA reporter Marc Stein).

Video Caption Comment of the Day: "In a world where the hopes and dreams of every kid shooting baskets in the drive way are represented by one man, that man could only be Luke Walton. With his patented bull rush into the paint and funky white boy turn-around, he lifts the spirits of every non-athlete that dreams of making it big in the NBA. The NBA, where Walton happens." -- Jamie Sweet

Reader Comment of the Day: "Getting healthy will be a slow process, but in the meantime, let's all cross our fingers that at least 2 out of the 4 injured players can ignore their injuries and step up in game 4. I'm looking at you Lamar." -- LAKER TRUTH

--Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at

Photo: Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant falls to the court after getting fouled by Lakers center Andrew Bynum during Game 3 on Thursday night. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times.



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