The Lakers Should Hire Chris Finch!
The Lakers should request permission from the Pelicans to interview Chris Finch to be their Associate Head Coach and Offensive Mastermind
It’s common knowledge the missing piece to complete Lakers’ head coach Frank Vogel’s staff is a top flight assistant to help with the offense. Pelicans associate head coach Chris Finch could be the perfect coach to fill that role.
The 49-year old Finch is currently associate head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans. He was brought aboard by Alvin Gentry in June 2017 to maximize the combination of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins and transform the moribund Pelicans’ offense. Finch previously had been an assistant coach in Denver under Mike Malone, where he helped transform Nikola Jokic into a superstar and the Denver Nuggets into an offensive juggernaut.
Finch’s experience working with Jokic, Davis, and Cousins makes him the perfect offensive fit for Frank Vogel’s coaching staff. Before hiring Chris, the Pelicans offense for 2016–17 ranked 26th in the league. Before DeMarcus Cousins tore his Achilles in late January 2018, the Pelican’s offense had been transformed into the 8th best in the league. With Cousins gone and Davis demanding a trade, they were still 12th best in the league last year.
Finch’s offensive philosophy is an eclectic mix of read and react and pace and space. His strength is creating combinations of complementary players. “What we have is a philosophy and we plug the pieces in to try to put guys in the best position to make them successful. So, we don’t try to copy anything we’ve done in the past exactly, but we are trying to find the right guys to accentuate each other’s skills. That’s really the secret sauce.”
The corner three offense Finch ran in Denver and now runs in New Orleans often positioned good passing big men like Nikola Jokic, Anthony Davis, and DeMarcus Cousins at the elbows rather than down low, drawing shot blockers out of the paint and opening up lanes for cutters and dribble-drive penetration. “We stress and value the pass-pass combination, whether it be drive-pass-pass or pass-pass-drive. That unlocks a rhythm of offense.”
Chris is the perfect fit to be the offensive mastermind for a Lakers’ roster that includes Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, and LeBron James, the greatest passing big man the game has ever known. There is no offensive coach in the league who better understands how to integrate bigs into the modern game. Before Cousins went down in July 2018, Finch had him on pace to become the first center to attempt over five hundred threes.
Nick Nurse tried to hire Finch last summer and the Minnesota Timberwolves recently interviewed him for their head coaching position. The Lakers would have to offer Chris an associate head coach position and a large salary increase to lure him away from the Pelicans but his history and relationship with Anthony and Cousins and his offensive acumen make him the perfect target to be offensive guru on Frank Vogel’s coaching staff.