New Lakers coach JJ Redick, who has no prior coaching experience, says his time as player, analyst and podcaster has him prepared

Damond Isiaka
8 Min Read


CNN
 — 

Former longtime NBA shooting guard JJ Redick, who has no prior coaching experience in the league, was introduced Monday as the Los Angeles Lakers’ next coach.

Redick, who celebrated his 40th birthday Monday, replaces Darvin Ham, who was fired in May after two seasons with the Lakers.

“I have zero coaching experience in the NBA, but I would argue that I’m very experienced and it started 22 years ago when I went to Duke and I got to play for Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski) for four years, spent 15 years as a (NBA) player,” he said.

Redick said the past three years – in which he’s worked as a podcaster and ESPN analyst – have been invaluable in his preparation.

“Being able to connect with the players, talking to them on the podcast, being in coaching interviews with ESPN calling games, analyzing the game in three different formats. All of that has helped prepare me to be an NBA head coach,” he said

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Redick played 15 seasons in the league for six teams before becoming an NBA analyst for ESPN in 2021.

Asked by a reporter whether he had heard any misconceptions or concerns about himself in recent weeks during the hiring process that he felt the need to dispel, Redick was blunt. “It’s a valid question, and I’ve certainly heard everything. … However, I don’t really have a great answer for your question because I really don’t give a f**k. Like honestly,” he said. “I want to coach the Lakers. I want to coach the team. I don’t want to dispel anything… I want to become a great coach in the NBA.”

The man who hired Redick said he was always on their A-list.

“It was very evident that he had a unique perspective and philosophy on basketball and how it’s to be taught,” Lakers Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Rob Pelinka said at the news conference.

Pelinka said he and Redick share “a basketball philosophy that was very similar and it was based on high level strategy, it was based on a certain way of communicating with players and teaching them,” as well as “prioritizing player development.”

Redick indicated he’d like to see Lakers star forward and the NBA’s all-time leading scorer LeBron James take more threes after shooting better than 40% this season, but he still needs to have a conversation with James.

“You have to certainly get buy-in and talk to him about how he wants to play,” Redick said. “It’s really just figuring out in the half court, putting him in different spots both as a scorer and a facillitator.”

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Redick co-hosts a basketball podcast with James. But it’s unclear whether he will get to coach James, who in five days has the choice of exercising a contract option or moving on next season.

James has not directly addressed his future with the team nor whether he would return for his 22nd NBA season.

On April 30, James posted on X, “I’ve seen, heard a lot of reports about my future. I said it last night and I’ll say it again. I do not know yet as I’m only thinking about spending time with my family & friends!

“When I know after speaking with the fam, my counsel as well as my representation about it then you guys will know.”

Redick said he sees nine-time all-star center Anthony Davis as a “hub” of the team next season so the Lakers can maximize his abilities. He said he spoke to Davis about a week ago about ideas he has for Davis’ roles on offense and defense.

“I think both of us felt really comfortable going forward with that sort of as the base starting point of how he’s gonna play on this team,” Redick said.

This isn’t the first time the Lakers have hired someone with no coaching experience to guide the team: With the team struggling in 1994, owner Jerry Buss put Magic Johnson is charge for the final 16 games, and he posted a 5-11 record before resigning and becoming a part-owner.

Earlier this month, University of Connecticut men’s basketball head coach Dan Hurley spurned the Lakers for their then-vacant head coaching job to stay and chase a third-straight national title with the Huskies.

The Lakers had offered the coach of the defending back-to-back NCAA champion Huskies a six-year, $70 million contract, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Redick said he had no issues with the Lakers’ pursuit of Hurley.

“At no point was my ego or feelings hurt or bruised in any way,” he said. “Dan Hurley is a two-time national champion at UConn. I am a two-time 55 Swiss league champion in the 3rd and 4th grade division – like, I understood.”

Last season, Los Angeles was eliminated from the playoffs in five games, losing to the then-reigning champion Denver Nuggets for the second straight postseason.

The Lakers currently hold the 17th selection in Thursday’s 2024 NBA Draft.

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