Newest Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis sat down with Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News and discussed his role with the team, and his focus on defense. While he isn't specifically titled as the defensive coordinator, Rambis stated that's how he "views the sport."
I don't know if it's been stated as such. But that's how I view the sport. I look at what any team can do to get stops. It's critical to win games in the NBA. It takes five guys to figure out how to stop a ball. When you're playing against talented offensive players, a myriad of challenges come up in figuring out how to stop them. It takes all five guys being on the same page. That's how I look at things.
The Lakers lacked defensive cohesion last season, often making up for breakdowns on defense by having Dwight Howard as their last line to erase their mistakes on the perimeter.
Los Angeles was ranked 20th in the league in defensive rating, allowing 106.6 points every 100 possessions. When Howard was not on the floor, the Lakers allowed 110.5 points per 100 possessions. That would rank 28th overall in the league.
The Lakers also lost their best perimeter defender in Metta World Peace. While World Peace was off the floor, teams averaged 109.4 points per 100 possessions. The Lakers have replaced World Peace with a group of perimeter players in Nick Young, Wesley Johnson, Elias Harris and Marcus Landry.
Rambis did not discuss any potential defensive strategies, and he and D'Antoni have not gotten into specifics. He does mention that the two have a "similar concept" in what they want to accomplish. He instead discussed the importance of having guidelines on defense that the team follows so that the team is "all on the same page."
Mike and I have a similar concept in what we want to do. But we haven't walked through all of the steps. Even if you take wing screen-and-roll, there's a lot of things offensively that can happen. How to defend all those different options. A wing screen-and-roll involving Dwight Howard and a wing screen-and-roll involving Dirk Nowitzki makes you defend it differently. We have to go through that process to make sure we're all on the same page to look at those situations and defend him. That's a simplistic example, but it's clear the difference between the two.
Be sure to read the full interview from Mark Medina at Los Angeles Daily News as Rambis goes into further detail regarding his defensive philosophies, his relationship with Phil Jackson and more.
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