How's this for stunning news. ESPN.com's Ric Bucher is reporting that Rudy Tomjanovich will step down as Lakers coach after tonight's game against Portland. According to Bucher, his health and "dissatisfaction with the way the Lakers are playing," contributed to the decision. LAist can be sympathetic to Tomjanovich if his decision is health-related. We can't imagine it's easy to jump back into the rigors of NBA coaching after suffering through bladder cancer. And in that case, LAist wishes him well as he goes Rick Majerus on us.
But leaving because you're dissatisfied with the team's play is unacceptable. As a head coach, isn't it Rudy T's job to get the Lakers to play better? Tomjanovich has always been one of the most overrated coaches ever to win an NBA title. A consummate players coach, Tomjanovich is so devoid of any schematic philosophy that he needed to ask players for suggestions, and came up with three random days of triangle fun. He has failed to get the best out of Lamar Odom. He allows Chucky Atkins to shoot too much. He refuses to reign in Kobe, when even Kobe realizes he needs to be reigned in. And the Lakers are essentially a penetrate and pitch three-point shooting team.
The Lakers may not have Shaq, but it's not like they're without talent. And Rudy T knew Shaq wouldn't be around when he took the job.
As for Rudy T's replacement, we wouldn't mind having Phil Jackson come back and repair his relationship with Jeannie. But that's not going to happen. Larry Brown would of course be great, but how long is he really going to be around? After Frank Hamblen finishes out the season, we wonder if now is the time to give Kurt Rambis his shot. It's not like the Lakers are competing for a title soon, and Rambis can operate in a low-stress environment so we can all find out just how good he is. Let's give Kurt a chance.