The Los Angeles Lakers are bringing on veteran coach Lionel Hollins onto head coach Frank Vogel’s staff, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Hollins will join a bench that already includes Jason Kidd, the highest-paid assistant coach in the NBA.
Along with Kidd, Hollins is now the second candidate from the Lakers’ head coaching search to join the staff as an assistant. Unlike Kidd, Hollins did not actually interview for the head coaching job.
Can confirm the Lakers are expected to add Lionel Hollins to Frank Vogel’s staff, adding another former head coach to the group. Hollins never interviewed for the Lakers’ head coach position but he was under consideration.— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) June 4, 2019
However, in an earlier report from May, Wojnarowski said that Hollins was “a favorite” of team advisor Kurt Rambis, which may have given him the edge over other candidates.
Hollins’ last coaching job was with the Brooklyn Nets, where he served as head coach for 119 games from 2014 to 2016. During that time, the Nets went 48-71 and never finished a season with more than 38 wins. In Hollins’ defense, though, the rosters he was given in Brooklyn weren’t designed to win many games.
The height of Hollins’ coaching career came in 2013, when he coached Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and the Memphis Grizzlies to their first and only Western Conference Finals appearance. The Grizzlies ended up getting swept by the San Antonio Spurs, leading to Hollins’ exit from the team, but it showed what he is capable of with a talented roster.
While Hollins’ grit-and-grind coaching style might be outdated in today’s NBA, there are some benefits to having a seasoned coach like him on the team’s bench. There’s also a chance he’s picked some things up from watching as an analyst over the last few years.
Unfortunately, there’s no real way of quantifying that, especially if he’s going to be a lower-end assistant, so the proof will have to be in the results. As Vogel put it at his press conference: “Just win.”