Lebron James has the stats of a C while playing SF. He has very similar stats to Shaq and Varejao. And again, stats don't mean much because they don't show they affect the opposing team's shoot percentage from forced shots and etc. There's way too many factors that go into good and bad defense.
And about the "how would you have hired" question, I believe Lakers had the choice between Brian Shaw, former Rocket's coach, and Mike Brown.
I'd go with Rockets, Shaw, and then Mike Brown.