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Assistant coach candidate profile: Bernie Bickerstaff

July 12, 2012|By Mark Medina
  • Former Charlotte Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff in 2006.
Former Charlotte Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff in 2006. (Streeter Lecka / Getty Images )

This is the second post in a series looking at potential Lakers assistant coaches. Assistant coach Quin Snyder and team consultant Ettore Messina took coaching jobs with CSKA Moscow, a highly successful Euroleague team. The Times' Mike Bresnahan reports that the Lakers might be interested in Bernie Bickerstaff.

Background: Bickerstaff has compiled a 415–517 head-coaching record, 12-21 in the postseason, with stints in Seattle (1985-1990), Denver (1994-96), Washington (1997-99) and Charlotte (2004-07). Bickerstaff had served in the dual role of coach and general manager with  the SuperSonics, Nuggets and Bobcats. And he had several assistant coaching stints, including his current one with the Portland Trail Blazers. Because of that, the Lakers would have to get permission first from Portland before interviewing Bickerstaff.

Connection to Brown: It's huge. Brown largely credits Bickerstaff for helping him land his first gig with an NBA organization. As the Nuggets' GM, Bickerstaff hired Brown as an intern in 1992 for $1,500, and Brown  performed tedious tasks including taking care of assistant GM Todd Eley's lawn. Soon enough, Brown parlayed that into a video coordinating job and scouting position for five seasons. He then joined Bickerstaff as one of his assistant coaches with the Washington Wizards. Bickerstaff has publicly praised Browns' work ethic and willingness to stand his ground.

Style: A Baltimore Sun article detailing how he helped rebuild Washington quoted various players as praising Bickerstaff's qualities. That included having high expectations, refusing to get too high or low after games and being honest with players. Various reports praise Bickerstaff for maximizing marginal talent on teams. He was highly criticized as the Nuggets' general manager, partly because the team didn't re-sign Dikembe Mutombo.


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