I told you earlier that Media Day, with its assortment of rehashed quotes, wasn’t really a place where we would learn anything new about the team, but it seems I have spoken to soon. At the start of today’s session, Mitch Kupchak announced the team has hired James Worthy to the team’s coaching staff. From the press release:
Worthy will work with head coach Byron Scott and his staff, focusing his attention on working with the Lakers big men. He will accompany the team to Hawaii for training camp and will continue to work with Lakers players throughout the season. Worthy will also continue his role on Time Warner Cable SportsNet as an analyst for the network’s Lakers coverage.
Worthy takes on a role which used to be occupied by Kurt Rambis under Phil Jackson and is a call to the team’s glorious past and one which can hopefully pay dividends in the future. As the Lakers noted in their release, Worthy was one of the best Forwards of his era, specializing in the type of mid and low post work which has often been lost in the translation to today’s game where big men often stretch to the 3-point line.
One player who Worthy might be able to pay immediate dividends with is Julius Randle. Randle’s turn and face game where a dynamic first step is a foundation of his attack is very similar to the style Worthy played as the Lakers’ small forward during Showtime. Worthy was able to mix a good mid-range jumper with his explosive first step and a fantastic finishing touch around the rim which are two key areas Randle can improve on in his continued development.
Worthy is not the only new hire, however:
The Lakers have hired former sharpshooter Tracy Murray as a shooting consultant during training camp and possibly further.
— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) September 28, 2015
Murray starred at UCLA and played one season with the Lakers in 2002-03. He only played 31 games that season, posting modest averages two points and a bit less than one rebound a game in 6.2 minutes a night. Of course, these meager averages don’t speak to anything more than a footnote here.
Murray is joining the team because, over the course of his career, he was one of the better shooters of his day. Over the course of his 12 year career he shot nearly 39% from behind the arc, three times shooting over 42% from distance. He offered a quick release and was excellent at getting his feet set and into his shooting motion regardless of his body position when either working off screens or sliding into position as a spot up option.
Murray’s hire, specifically, is a good look for a Lakers’ team which hasn’t always invested in these types of specialist coaches. And after Steve Nash got away from the Lakers to take a job with the Warriors as a consultant to their coaching staff, it’s good to see the Lakers are adding to their team of coaches with guys who, hopefully, can aid in the advancement of all the team’s players, but especially the young ones.
Does this mean no more on-air critique by Worthy? Not sure I like this idea.
“Worthy will also continue his role on Time Warner Cable SportsNet as an analyst for the network’s Lakers coverage.”
I think it answer your question
How can a coach still be an analyst on TV? He never called out BS last year cause they’re buddies, so maybe time to get him off the set. Bring back jack Haley! Lol
Regardless of how Worthy handles himself as a TV analyst, I see this as, potentially, a very good move.
James Worthy is not only a former Laker great but an outstanding student of the game. He’s highly intelligent, fiercely loyal to the Lakers, and a thinker. Such coaches can only help.
We have been saying all summer long that it is vital for the young players on this to team to grow, develop, and mature. There are 3 ways of doing that: 1) by playing meaningful minutes in games, 2) by practicing against others who are savvy and familiar with “the tricks of the trade,” and 3) by learning from their coaches.
Hopefully, option number 1 will be fulfilled when Byron puts his young guns into the game. Option # 2 will come when the young guys go up against Kobe, MWP, and Roy Hibbert during practice. And #3 will be coming from the tutelage of coaches such as James Worthy.
This should really help the young players on the team, especially Julius Randle. I like this hire very much. I think it’s a great move.
david h says
sadly, Jack Haley died March 16th 2015 of heart disease at age 51; I too like his matter of fact laker commentary.
and while we’re at it and unless he turned someone in the front office off at some point, consultant kareen adbul jabbar continues to have a nice ring to it for me.
darius: keep the new news rolling in.
With both Tracy and James, the Lakers are finally getting serious. Last season and the LMA fiasco must have shaken the Buss family and other shareholders.As shown in SA, a good shooting coach can be an important cog in a team`s success.
pat oslon says
Good move by the FO.
D. Peterson says
No matter how you slice it, there’s a ton of storylines this year. The Worthy hiring – which I like – just adds another interesting piece to the puzzle. We’ll see how coach manages it all.
Man, if some of Worthy’s brilliance rubs off on Randle, look out.
P. Ami says
I never really saw anything in his commentary that led me to believe Big Game James would be a good coach, but that is not the best venue for that assessment process. That said, when listening to Kerr, Van Gundy, Fratello and Hubie I definitely gain insight into the game. Can’t say the same for James.
I am not at all happy with these Lakers centric hires. There are excellent basketball people who never spent time with the organization and its plain silly to include a Lakers history in one’s search perimeters. If I see the Lakers hire Lamar Odom to replace Gary Vitti as Lakers trainer, I am not going to be happy. All jokes aside, can the Lakers please filch some trainers from teams with an excellent reputation in taking care of their players? It doesn’t need to be the guys that run the Suns, but how about moving along with the times.
I am looking forward to the day when the Lakers hire a head coach that makes sense in a manner that doesn’t begin and end with Lakers tradition. I am also looking forward to being wrong about James Worthy. If Randal turns out to be a hybrid of James Worthy and Metta World Peace, I’m happy with that. “Ifs” are just like balls. We only notice the bigs ones.
J C says
I always look forward to reading your posts.
I’d like to suggest that Worthy is an excellent hire as assistant coach.
I say that because compared to Byron, James is a genius.
I’m in the minority but I was one of the few that enjoyed Worthy’s career but I always thought he was a trifle overrated.
But after hearing him on Time Warner for a year I revised my opinion of him.
He seems reasonable yet intelligent, he’s seasoned and passionate yet realistic.
I think he’s a great addition and IMO further proof that the Lakers are taking this season seriously and leaving no stone unturned to mine the best possible performance out of everyone involved.
It’s also possible that James is a potential replacement for Byron should that scenario present itself.
P. Ami says
Thanks for reading and responding. I don’t know if any of the guys we see on TV are stupid. I don’t think Byron is stupid. I just don’t think he is a high level manager. I don’t sense that his insight into the game is unique. Granted, he played a long time at at a high level. His experience in the game is unique and special. I don’t think that always, or even often, translates into special coaching. The one thing we could say about Worthy is he has never been a bad coach before. I really hope he is not in line for when Byron is axed. Get Messina. Find a brilliant college coach. Get Luke Walton. I was a big supporter of the team being serious about Kevin Ollie. Retreads and proven losers that harken back to Showtime is myopic. I’m tired of the Lakers making these same mistakes.