Analyst Kurt Rambis sees virtue in Lakers offense, Part I

Former Lakers forward and coach (head and assistant) Kurt Rambis has joined Time Warner Cable SportsNet to help provide in-studio analysis of the team in select games.

In addition to working for ESPN as an analyst, Rambis was coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves prior to the arrival of Ricky Rubio and his successor Rick Adelman.

“I’d like to get back into coaching, but it has to be a good situation,” said Rambis in a phone interview. “It has to be a positive situation, but I’m not going to freak out if I don’t get back into coaching, because I do enjoy broadcasting.”

Rambis has an interesting perspective on the Lakers and their attempt to play system basketball. Rambis spent years apprenticing with Phil Jackson before attempting to institute the triangle offense in Minnesota.

“Phil has always felt that it takes a good part of the year for players to feel very comfortable,” he said. “They get to the point where they stop thinking about the offense and start thinking about the execution of it, so they can relax and start reading the defenses and make the proper adjustments based on how the defense plays.”


There are differences between the triangle and the hybrid Princeton offense that Lakers Coach Mike Brown is attempting to institute. The basic concepts are the same: read and react, ball movement, player movement, etc.

The Wolves never quite flourished during Rambis’ tenure but then he was given a variety of young, mismatched pieces as the team worked to rebuild the roster.

Rambis noted the Lakers’ offense may already be starting to work.

“In watching the game [Tuesday] in Portland, they are executing their offense,” said Rambis. “Players were open on different sequences but now it’s up to the players to read those open opportunities, to move the ball to the right person at the right time. Some poor decisions were made, so you can see the value in working those kinds of offenses, but players need to get to the point where they are no doubt comfortable with it, and that takes time.”

Do the Lakers have the luxury of time? Certainly a sizable contingent of fans is already disturbed by the 0-2 record.

“I believe they can be patient. I mean if you just look at the difference between the first game with Dallas and the second game with Portland, they played much better and much harder against Portland,” said Rambis. “If you look at the offense, and I think they missed a myriad of easy scoring opportunities, and they still shot above 50% from the floor, and above 40% from the three-point line, and 80% from the free throw line, so those are all great offensive statistics, they scored 106 points.”

Obviously the Lakers lost, and with 24 turnovers, they’re certainly sloppy in their offense.

“Now they turned the ball over a lot, which is part of learning a new style of play, a new system, and getting new players acclimated to playing with each other,” said Rambis. “Turnovers are a byproduct of that, but still, it’s something they’ve got to cut down on, but so much of their troubles came from the turnovers and their defense.”

[Part II of the interview with Kurt Rambis will be live shortly.]


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You can email Eric Pincus at and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.