The Lakers announced Friday they have added 4 coaches to Luke Walton’s staff. Three of the coaches are new hires while the 4th was an internal promotion from the defenders. The team also hired a video coordinator. From the team’s press release:
The Los Angeles Lakers announced today that the team has hired Jud Buechler, Brian Keefe, and Theo Robertson as player development coaches on Head Coach Luke Walton’s staff, joining associate head coach Brian Shaw and assistant coaches Jesse Mermuys and Mark Madsen. Additionally, it was announced that Casey Owens has been named assistant coach/advance professional scout and Will Scott has been named to the staff as video coordinator.
Owens takes on the most prominent role here, moving up from the head man on the D-Fenders to an assistant and advanced scout under Walton. Owens time with the D-Fenders can only be considered a great success, with his team appearing in the D-League Finals this past season. Owens is considered a smart offensive coach who relates well to players, offering encouragement and building their confidence in the process.
As for the others, Buechler has background as a player, of course, playing as a SF on the Bulls under Phil Jackson. He also played for several other teams during his 12 year NBA career, but is most known as a solid, if mostly bit, rotation player on the second 3-peat team from 1996-98. He has a coaching history as well, but in high school volleyball where he coached his daughter before she went on to play at UCLA.
Robertson comes to the Lakers from the Warriors where he served as a video intern before moving into player development. Robertson was also a standout college player, but a hip injury ended his goals of playing professionally. Since then he’s worked at his alma mater Cal and, as mentioned, in Oakland under Steve Kerr and with Walton. If you’re interested in learning more on Robertson, this profile is a good place to start.
Of all the hires, however, it is Keefe who might actually intrigue me the most. Not only does he have a history in ball/player movement offenses (the Knicks did, sorta, run the Triangle), but his time in Oklahoma City had him working in player development while Kevin Durant was with the team. The Lakers, as you know, have a guy who some people (fairly or not) have compared to the former Thunder/current Warrior star. I’m interested in learning about how much, if any, direct involvement Keefe will with Ingram and whether he can share any of routines/drills/training techniques which helped shape Durant into what he became.
Ultimately, my biggest takeaway isn’t just what any single coach brings to the equation but what all can do to add to the culture and positive direction of the team. All of them have good background in teaching and extensive histories in the game as coaches and/or players. Combine them with the staff already in place and this looks to be a good group which looks like it can help Walton push this group of young players and veterans forward.