Evaluating Lakers Head Coaching Candidates: JJ Redick
JJ Redick, Lakers
(Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)

After reaching the Western Conference Finals in the 2023 NBA Playoffs, former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham was poised to build on that momentum after the front office re-signed the core members of that run plus supplemented the roster with viable role players.

However, Ham went the other direction and tinkered with his lineups to the point that it caused some unrest and distrust in the locker room. Things ultimately came to a head after the Lakers faced off against the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the 2024 NBA Playoffs and lost in five games.

Los Angeles wasted almost no time dismissing Ham and his coaching staff, setting up another pivotal head coaching search this offseason.

With Ham out the door, the Lakers have been linked to several veteran head coaching options but perhaps the most intriguing one is JJ Redick.

Redick, who recently took an interview with the Charlotte Hornets for their head coach vacancy, is a dark horse candidate for Los Angeles.

The most probable reason for him being in the mix is his relationship with LeBron James, who he co-hosts the “Mind The Game” podcast with. On their podcast, Redick and James discuss a wide-range of topics, but notably go over basketball plays that show off the former shooting guard’s X’s and O’s knowledge.

Aside from his podcast with James, Redick also hosts the “The Old Man and the Three” podcast as well as appears as a frequent guest commentator for ESPN. He has not coached at any level since retiring from playing in 2021.

There is precedent for first-time head coaches succeeding, though it normally takes them a couple of stops to get their feet under them and lead a team.

Lakers candidate JJ Redick’s strengths

Redick’s biggest strength is his intimate knowledge of locker room dynamics and ability to relate to players. Redick played 15 years in the league and understands what it means to be part of a team and how to navigate dynamics between players and coaches.

He’s also a sharp basketball mind as evidenced by his podcast content where he routinely dissects plays and offers suggestions on what teams can do.

Most importantly, he has a close relationship with James, so there obviously would be buy-in from the team’s biggest star if he were to get the job.

Lakers candidate JJ Redick’s weaknesses

The most glaring weakness in Redick’s resume is his lack of coaching experience at the league level. Although Charlotte expressed interest in Redick, it’s still risky to consider someone like him for Los Angeles’ opening because of the pressure and stakes that come with it.

If the Lakers did ultimately go with Redick, they would need to surround him with veteran head coaches to help.

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