Since it was reported Brian Shaw would return to the Lakers as Luke Walton’s lead assistant, it has been pretty quiet on the “who will be on Luke Walton’s staff” front. No leaks of names who were shoe-ins, not even any hints at who might be under consideration.
That changed over the weekend when Dave Miller brought up a name I was unfamiliar with:
Hearing Tucson native Jesse Mermuys will be joining LUKE WALTONS staff in LA…if my memory is correct he used to run Walton's youth camps
— Dave Miller (@coachdavemiller) June 11, 2016
After Miller’s report, Chris Reichert of Upside Motor confirmed what Miller was hearing:
Confirmed with multiple league sources — Jesse Mermuys (Raptors 905 HC in 15/16) will join Luke Walton's staff in Los Angeles #NBADL
— Chris Reichert (@Chris_Reichert) June 13, 2016
As Reichert notes, Mermuys most recently coached the Raptors’ D-League team, the Toronto 905. Before that, Mermuys was a Raptors’ assistant under Dwayne Casey and also worked for the Rockets as an assistant under Kevin McHale and with the Nuggets as a video coordinator and advanced scout. Mermuys also has college experience, including time at at the University of Arizona. Along with the camps Dave Miller noted, this is where his ties to Walton likely come in, with Mermuys being a a Tuscon native.
What exactly does Mermuys bring to the table, though? From his history, Mermuys has experience in the video room, as an advanced scout, and in player development. Being a head coach at the D-League level (as well as the assistant GM), also gives him insight into roster construction and how to relate to and communicate with players.
On that topic, back in 2014, Holly MacKenzie wrote a very good feature on Mermuys at Raptors.com. Her entire piece is worth your time, but below are a few excerpts which stood out to me:
Standing less than six-feet tall, Mermuys looks more like a trainer. Smiling easily and often, he can usually be found in Air Canada Centre working with one of the Raptors players putting in extra time after hours. This July, he was the head coach for Toronto’s Las Vegas Summer League submission. After Vegas, he moved to Los Angeles where the bulk of the team’s players are spending the offseason so he would always be available when they wanted to workout.
One of the things he loves about this particular team is that it’s filled with players who have the same level of dedication that he has. While much of Mermuys’ offseason has been spent in the gym with DeRozan, Amir Johnson and Terrence Ross, a typical regular-season day has him splitting his time between working out players and working on game plans with the coaching staff.
And, on how he continues to build relationships with the players:
While his basketball knowledge and scouting skills are a given in his profession, what sets him apart is his ability to connect with people. Building trust by always being available when the text comes from a player who needs someone to get in the gym with him, Mermuys appreciates the role he gets to play in developing young men into adults.
“I love the game of basketball, of course, but what I really love is helping the players and having those successes,” Mermuys said. “That’s what it’s all about for me. I love the relationships. I love when they have success. It’s a special thing. Especially when we’re working extremely hard and making sacrifices of time with our family. It’s very rewarding for sure. Of course, when I’m working with a guy I’m giving him all that I have so there’s no better feeling when a guy has success. It makes me proud and happy.”
All of this is music to my ears and, in many ways, is exactly the type of hire I would want Walton to make. Like Luke, Mermuys has that history of spending extra time with the players — helping them improve and being available at the drop of a hat to put in the work. This is the type of relationship building which helps establish a winning culture while also spearheading the growth and development we all want to see in the players.
Further, while there has been some clamoring for Walton to fill his staff with experienced guys (like Shaw), I think a well rounded group of assistants who come from a variety of backgrounds is also a very good approach. Mermuys worked his way up from the video room to being an assistant at the NBA level and then a head coach at the D-League level. His experience isn’t that of a former NBA player (which is valuable as well), but from a path where he started from the bottom and outside of NBA circles to get to where he is now.
I am by no means trying to make any one path seem harder or better than the other, but I think it’s very good to have people with different life experiences, different perspectives, coming together with their own ideas on how to attack problems and reach goals.
Beyond all that, though, the qualities listed above are ones which I think are a real value add to any staff. And, so, with Mermuys looking like he will join Walton’s staff, I am excited about the things he can bring to the table.
Great read, he looks like a solid addition to the coaching staff. Any thoughts on who should be defensive coordinator?
Mermuys.. Not murmuys.
Darius Soriano says
I fixed his name. How I spelled it right in the title of the post but wrong a dozen times in the article is something I cannot explain. Haha.
Hahaha atleast you changed it already..
Or can we just say you were just excited at the hiring of jesse murmuys haha kiddin’ i mean mermuys haha
pat oslon says
Jesse Mermuys will be a great addition to the team. He’s a “players coach!”
After checking out the player mentioned in the last post, i am starting to think he’s the type of player the lakers need, a player who is more defensive then offensive, a player who doesn’t demand the ball, we have enough offensive minded players already.
Although I know very little about Jerry Merrmuys, I like the sounds of this hire.
In fact, if Brian Shaw comes on board, I sense a certain pattern and common thread in the coaches that Luke Walton is considering. They all seem to have a strong record in developing young players. Luke himself worked extensively with Draymond Green and is credited with a large part of his development. Brian Shaw worked with Paul George early in George’s career. And Jerry has been working with the young players on Toronto’s team.
These are all good things.
Nik Kannan says
Hield or Ingram – that is the question? I liked that Stanley Johnson worked with Kobe last off-season the point i became biased about his potential. Am i wrong in thinking Hield is similar or is this the guy we should take? – we know he can’t wear #24 tho
I would take Hield over Jordan Clarkson today.
Nik: Ingram has better upside. If the Lakers had a pick in the 4-6 range I’d be happy with Hield. But, we have a top two pick and should take one of the two best players available.
George Best says
Hieid is Jimmer Fredette. Ingram is the biggest no brainer pick in the whole draft unless the Sixers take him and our no brainer pick Is Simmons.
The real issue is what free agents will we sign. Otherwise we are giving a top pick in next years draft.
Hield has a very sweet shot. I think he’ll be good, but Ingram is going to be better. I think Ingram will have a better career than Simmons (if not in stats, then in winning, but maybe both.) His weaknesses can be improved on easier than Simmons’ (and Im not referring to Simmons’ shot.)
Ingram, baby! Ingram!
Nik Kannan says
I hear u guys on Hield -but best case scenario for Hield – isn’t he a dwade type? 4 years of college and one of the collegiate players of the year – 37 points in the elite 8 I think he shot some 46% from college 3. He is undersized at 6’4″ but so was wade out of Marquette…. I like Ingram a lot… His length shooting touch and potential to play both ends is fantastic… I currently believe he should be our pick – and to me is the best player equipped to be successful in the NBA… But it would seem that Hield will be much better than Jimmer – C’ mon… And it is a rumor circulating that our FO really like him Hield…
Ingram is the biggest no brainer pick in the whole draft unless the Sixers take him and our no brainer pick Is Simmons.
In the words of Mike Breen – BANG
Player development is exactly the right core competency for our coaching staff – they are given a talented young roster. PD also fosters mutual trust, coaches who care for players.
There is a leadership vacuum within the Lakers management as well as the players, as well as the coaches. Luke will step right in and up. It helps that there is no player bigger in stature than him. He is as likely to be the next great Laker coach, as anyone else I can think of.
Chris J says
Maybe Bogut should go upstairs to the ESPN set and ask to sit in Pierce’s magical wheelchair. Otherwise that knee twist looked like a season-ender.
If so, bad break for Warriors. But it’ll give their “we invented basketball” fans an excuse all summer, like Bill Simmons claim that his Celtics would have won six years ago were it not for the loss of Kendrick Perkins.
The nba finals were so uninteresting until the league started rigging it to look competitive. Did you notice not one radio or t.v. personality hinted toward draymond green being suspended by the league to extend the series. They probably would have lost their job. The league needs multiple superstars to pull it’s huge ratings, if lebron would have gotten swept his superstar status would be over, that would hurt the league. The players gotta realize what’s happening, but they gotta keep there mouths shut.
Chinanu onuaku likely will be a great center in 2 years, better pick than Zimmerman, zizac, or zubac