The Los Angeles Lakers are mired in a deep search for their next head coach, and Roy Williams has been added to the team’s shortlist of candidates according to the LA Times‘ Mike Bresnahan. The North Carolina Tar Heels head coach is certainly happy where he is at currently, but there are a number of reasons why Williams and the Lakers are a match made in heaven.
For Williams, there certainly has to be a feeling that everything that can be accomplished at the collegiate level has been accomplished. The 63-year-old has won 724 games, been to seven Final Four appearances and won two NCAA National Championships over his 26 year career with the Kansas Jayhawks and North Carolina. Sure, the thrill of playing big games at the Dean Dome has a unique thrill, but every top level coach wants to test themselves at the highest level, and time is running out for Williams to coach in the NBA.
The Lakers would be wise to scratch the inevitable itch that Williams feels to coach in the NBA, as they have a real opportunity to build quickly and efficiently. With Kobe Bryant and a possible top-five pick in hand, the Lakers could find themselves strapped with one aging and one burgeoning star apiece, giving them both a short and long term window to win. Add in loads of cap space to work with, and Los Angeles could quickly build a side that is prepared to win this season and has the flexibility to continue adding in future summers.
There is no doubting that there is never a sure bet when a college basketball coach moves to the NBA, but Williams should be up to the challenge. Williams has always preached the importance of defensive responsibility and good ball movement, which are staples of any top team at the NBA level today. Moreover, he brings a commanding presence to the locker room, and is professional enough to both deal with the tough minded Bryant, Los Angeles fans and the tactical adjustments that come with the NBA, in a perfect manner.
In the end, the potential move of Williams to Los Angeles will come down to the coach’s willingness to ditch the college game, but the stars seem to be aligning for a move. And for fans in Los Angeles pining for old times, this move would certainly be a step in the right direction.