The Los Angeles Lakers have been searching for stability on the sidelines since Phil Jackson retired in 2011 and the hope is that their latest hire is finally the right man for the job.

The Lakers and JJ Redick just came to terms on a four-year, $32 million deal that will make the 15-year NBA veteran their seventh head coach since Jackson’s departure. This job already comes with immense pressure and expectations given the franchise’s history, but the added layer of having to win-now given LeBron James’ age only adds to the stakes.

Redick has a tall task ahead of him with this job and there are already more than enough reasons why this union might not work out for Los Angeles.

No prior coaching experience

The biggest knock on Redick is that he has no prior experience beyond coaching his children at the youth level. Only six others have won the NBA championship in their first year as NBA head coaches and out of this group, only Steve Kerr (Golden State Warriors, 2015) came into the job with zero coaching experience.

Being a smart player and a knowledgeable analyst of the game is one thing, but steering an entire team through the rigors of an entire NBA campaign is a completely different beast.


“LeBron Guy”

Redick has a well-established and public relationship with James. This might sit well with the 39-year-old superstar and his running mate Anthony Davis has reportedly signed off on this hire, yet this history puts him at a predisposed risk of alienating the rest of the locker room.

The minute Redick takes James’ side in a contentious internal argument, the opposing side may naturally be inclined to believe that their head coach is playing favorites. This will be a major obstacle for him and it is something that he must address immediately in order to ensure that things do not get out of hand.

Redick’s personality

It is well-known that Redick himself has a strong personality from his days as the face of the Duke program and the multiple stops that he made in the NBA. He exudes confidence when he speaks, as seen through the many iterations of his highly popular podcast, and is unafraid to speak his mind, regardless of the consequences.

This might not necessarily sit well with some players and it is essential that Redick learns how to communicate with most, if not all, of his players given today’s landscape.

Lightning Rod

The Lakers’ previous head coach, Darvin Ham, was relatively unknown to the casual basketball fan before his tenure with the team. Since then, he has become both a punchline and punching bag because of his stint with the team.

If this could happen with someone like Ham, it is likely to be exponentially worse for a person as popular as Redick. There is already a treasure trove of content online on his basketball takes and philosophies. It is only a matter of time before he does something that contradicts one of his previous statements and sets off a firestorm online. He should eventually learn to tune this out as he did with the rabid opposing fan bases that hounded him during his time at Duke, but it will nonetheless be a distraction for Redick and Los Angeles.


So, while Aldo has shared his thoughts about Redick, another one of our writers in JE Yaranon has also shared his take on the Lakers’ new coach.

He has great basketball IQ

Say what you will about Redick, just make sure you acknowledge that he has a great basketball mind and an insatiable love for the game. From the moment he started doing guest spots on TV and other online shows, up to now that he has his own podcasting network, it’s clear that he eats, breathes, and shits basketball. He isn’t one to give gossip or hot takes much like the Stephen A. Smiths of the world. He’d rather go on a deep dive about the Xs and Os, and the intricacies of offensive and defensive sets and how each can be broken down, expanded, and anything in between. We see it in his The Old Man and the Three and Mind the Game pods – coincidentally, he does the latter with LeBron James.

Being a basketball junkie with a high hoop IQ deserves a ton of points in this job because it’s half of the work. There are no days off and you have to love it so much that you can talk the ears off of both casuals and diehards. He has probably started off mapping out plays for James and company for weeks.

He is a vocal leader

As a natural talker with smarts and charisma, we’ve also seen Redick be a vocal leader, be it in his college or NBA days. It is yet another positive quality as coaches need to be able to motivate and communicate well with his players. JJ has been on teams where he’s a bench warmer, role player, starter, star, and elder statesman, and that should give him the wide perspective that he needs in terms of connecting with the guys.

If you were known to have a voice, or at least exerted an attitude in locker rooms that had the likes of Dwight Howard, Glen Davis, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Matt Barnes, and Joel Embiid, among others, you most probably have the ways to manage a group.

He has a good relationship with players

The success of The Old Man and The Three podcast, where he usually has guests on, has allowed JJ to talk and vibe with current players and coaches. It can be an asset as a coach as it can further his ability to know more about potential opponents – what they like and don’t like, how they approach the game, what are the new trends in the NBA life, and such.

Recruiting is where it can also play a crucial part. Since many players have become more familiar with who he is and how he communicates, he may be able to sway more free agents, and perhaps have more guys lobby into getting to the Lakers. That’s always a good luxury to have.

LeBron trusts him

This one is really interesting because being a “LeBron guy” is both good and bad. Here’s the “good,” though: being backed by ‘the man’ comes a long way. James is arguably the most influential voice in the Lakers organization alongside principal owner Jeanie Buss. 

In the basketball side of things, however, it can mean that James will buy-in to what you are selling and rally the guys to work with you, which can then translate to a vast array of positives. There’s always great basketball in a LeBron James-led team when the energy is good.

Additionally, because James trusts him, he can be the rare type of coach who can call out his BS when needed, much like what Tyronn Lue was able to do back in their time together with the Cleveland Cavaliers – and they have a great relationship now. 

We’ve seen JJ comfortably call out LeBron in their podcast a couple of times before, like complaining about non-calls and making him admit that he watches his own highlights.