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Lakers Introduce JJ Redick as Head Coach: Three Takeaways

Jun 24, 2024; El Segundo, CA, USA; The Los Angeles Lakers head coach JJ Redick speaks to the media during an introductory news conference at the UCLA Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

After months of speculation and a decision made last week, the Los Angeles Lakers formally announced JJ Redick as their next head coach on Monday. Redick, a former sharpshooter turned podcaster and ESPN analyst, enters as the team’s 29th head coach in franchise history and seventh since Phil Jackson left in 2010.

Lakers Introduce JJ Redick as Head Coach: Three Takeaways

The Lakers Announcement

Redick and General Manager Rob Pelinka made their first comments on the hire through a press release this morning.

“After a thoughtful and thorough search process, I couldn’t be more proud to welcome JJ, his wife Chelsea, and their two sons to the Lakers family,” Pelinka said. “JJ is a fierce competitor and has an extraordinary basketball IQ and understanding of the modern game that will energize players and excite fans.”

He continued: “His rigorous analysis will immediately unlock new opportunities for our roster while setting a foundation for player development over the long term. He brings an intense dedication to innovation, advancing the game and staying at the forefront of an ever-evolving league.”

Redick extended his gratitude for the opportunity, adding:

“My goal will focus on delivering championship-caliber basketball for Lakers fans everywhere, building on the tremendous history and legacy of the Lakers. I am excited to surround myself with a veteran, innovative staff as we work relentlessly to develop players and maximize the team’s potential. My family and I couldn’t be more ecstatic for this new chapter in our lives and look forward to immersing ourselves in the vibrant Los Angeles community.”

In Redick’s 15 years in the Association, he averaged 12.8 points per game while shooting 44.7% from the field, 41.5% from three and 89.2% from the free-throw line. His post-playing career has consisted of a multitude of appearances on ESPN, and he has changed the way players enter sports media with two high-profile podcasts, “The Old Man and the Three” and “Mind the Game”—the latter co-hosted with none other than the superstar he’ll have to coach: LeBron James. Redick confirmed during his introductory press conference that, for now, the podcasts will end.

Three Takeaways from Redick’s (Re-)Introduction

Redick’s Coaching Philosophy

What immediately stands out about Redick is his coaching philosophy, which is centered around player development and high-level strategy.

“We shared a basketball philosophy that was very similar,” Pelinka said. “It was based on high-level strategy. It was based on a certain way of communicating with players and teaching them. And, probably—most importantly—it was about player development.”

He added: “At the core of [the Collective Bargaining Agreement] is gonna be the importance of a great franchise like the Lakers modernizing and leaning into developing our young players.”

Redick said his motivation for joining the Lakers was one of service—to the team, its players, and fanbase—but also about “competition, performance, collaboration, [and] leadership.” He added those factors will be pivotal as he assembles his staff and heads into the decision-making process this offseason.

The first-year coach also noted that with the game’s evolution comes a need for adaptability, something he says he’ll strive to do daily, and that conversations on how to use certain Lakers will require buy-in on the players’ part.

“With any player on the roster, I can have a vision for how I want to use them, but there has to be buy-in and collaboration,” he said. “I can sit up here and tell you how I’d like them to play, but if there’s no buy-in, then it doesn’t really matter. Part of the next two months is just having conversations. Anthony and I already had a conversation a week ago about some ideas, both offensively and defensively. I think both of us felt really comfortable going forward with that sort of as the base starting point of how he’s going to play on this team.”

How Redick Plans on Using LeBron and AD

In the immediate aftermath of Redick joining the Lakers, there were already rumblings of how he planned to use LeBron and Anthony Davis on the court. According to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha:

Redick described a system molded around this roster, focusing on elevating Anthony Davis’ involvement, particularly late in games, and alleviating the constant ballhandling duties on James by utilizing him more off the ball. Keeping James, who turns 40 in December, fresh down the stretch of the regular season and into the playoffs will be critical.

Fans and the media got a bit of a clearer picture of Redick’s vision on Monday. For Davis, he hinted towards continuing to use him as the team’s “hub” this season.

“There’s a bunch of guys at the five position in the NBA that sort of operate in that way,” he said. “I don’t know that he’s been used in that way and sort of maximized all of his abilities.”

“With LeBron,” he continued, “You have to certainly get buy-in and talk to him about how he wants to play. Him and I have joked about this, but he shot over 40% from three this year. I want him shooting threes. He’s gonna have his three or four bursts every game…It’s really just figuring out in the half-court, putting him in different spots, both as a scorer and a facilitator. That’ll be part of the conversation over the next couple months.”

While Redick’s strategies with LA’s superstars remains to be seen, there’s no doubt his high IQ and experience in the league will lead to maximizing the duo’s abilities this season and beyond.

Not Deterred by Lack of NBA Coaching Experience

Finally, Redick proved that he is not deterred by a lack of NBA coaching experience. Pelinka went to bat for him as well, saying that “‘NBA head coaching experience’ and ‘NBA experience’ aren’t mutually exclusive things.”

Instead, the 40-year-old plans on taking the lessons he learned from previous coaches in his career—both from Coach K at Duke and across the NBA—and letting those play a role in his philosophy and leadership style.

The first-time head coach also shed light on dispelling any doubters, which inevitably comes with the territory when leading the Lakers, of all franchises.

Redick’s confidence in his abilities comes with the desire to bring an experienced staff alongside him, including (per reports) ones who have been in his shoes as a head coach. Backing Redick with other incredible minds from around the league could soften some of the doubts about his jump to the league’s coaching fraternity.

The Last Word

Redick showcased plenty of promise in his introductory comments to Laker fans, with many excited—and reasonably skeptical—of his approach to the team heading into this season. The focus will once again shift to the offseason, where Redick, Pelinka, Jeanie Buss and the rest of LA’s brass aim to build a legitimate contender that can help them reach the Lakers’ standard of excellence: championship-level basketball.


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