The only holdover from Phil Jackson's first go-around as coach, Hamblen took over on an interim basis when Rudy Tomjanovich resigned. At the time, the Lakers were 24-19 and sat in seventh place in the Western Conference. The playoffs were still a possibility, but after the Lakers won Hamblen's first two games, injuries finally took their toll and the team won only eight more times and failed to qualify for the postseason for only the fifth time in franchise history.
Hamblen's winning percentage is the second-worst of any Lakers coach -- one game better than George Mikan's 9-30 mark in 1958.
A forward and guard at Syracuse University in the late 1960s, Hamblen began scouting for the San Diego Rockets in 1969 before they moved to Houston. He was a successful assistant coach for the Denver Rockets, Kansas City Kings, Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls before the Lakers. He was 23-42 as Milwaukee's interim head coach in 1992. Coincidentally, he took over for future Lakers coach Del Harris and was replaced the next season by former Lakers coach Mike Dunleavy.
Hamblen is currently one of four assistants under Lakers Coach Phil Jackson.