Last worked as:
Associate Head Coach at Los Angeles Clippers
Greatest achievement as coach:
Western Conference Finals eith Phoenix Suns (2010)
Greatest achievement as player:
Why he’s a good fit:
Alvin Gentry followed Mike D’Antoni into head coaching duties before, in 2009 with the Phoenix Suns, and he has a chance to do it again with the Lakers. Then, he inherited a talented team but under D’Antoni’s seven second or less system they struggled to get defensive stops consistently. He found success making them more robust defensively and he needs to do a similar job in LA. For a while now, certainly dating back to Mike Brown’s tenure, the team has struggled to contain quick guards. The Lakers allowed 109.2 points per game this season – only the Philadelphia 76ers allowed more, so he has his work cut out with this group. But it’s not just his ability to instil a defensive mentality into his players. The LA Times report that the Lakers were also impressed with his offensive philosophy.
Why he’s not:
If you want a coach to focus on developing young talent during the season Alvin Gentry is not your man. The main reason he parted with the Phoenix Suns was precisely because management wasn’t prioritising winning immediately but growing their young talent. Gentry did not want to deal with that.
He failed to improve a Clippers team from 2000 to 2003 that was struggling just as much as the Lakers are now. And curiously he is one of the few coaches in the NBA who has never played a single NBA game, which makes him prone to the “You’ve never played at this level before” criticism from a player who loses faith in him.
Quirky, but slightly relevant:
In a playoff game against the Lakers in 2010 he threw up on the bench after eating deep-fried avocado.