While most have focused on the talent and roster the Los Angeles Lakers have built this offseason, just as important to their success will be the coaching staff.
Former Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel was hired as the new head coach and it was immediately announced that former Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd would be his lead assistant coach.
Kidd was also interviewed for the head coaching position and is a longtime friend and confidant of LeBron James. Because of this, many believe Kidd was brought in to ultimately replace Vogel should things go south, and that he will garner more respect in the locker room than the head coach himself.
Vogel has maintained that he isn’t concerned with it and Kidd isn’t focused on it either. Kidd recently spoke with ESPN, praising James as a player and expressing excitement about the opportunity to coach him and win a championship:
“You talk about one of the smartest players in the world. You talk about one of the best players to ever play the game the right way, so I’m very excited to have the opportunity to help him hopefully achieve his goal and our goal as the Lakers and that’s to win the championship.”
Last season, James suffered his first real injury in his career and entering his 17th season, there are some concerns about his body finally breaking down. Kidd is a prime example of a player altering his game to remain effective in his older age and he hopes to impart that on James:
“Well, it’s about running the marathon. At 35-years-old, I’ve had some experience at playing later in my career and being able to run that marathon, so hopefully being able to share with him some things that helped me be successful in running that marathon at 35-years-old.”
The great thing about James is that as Kidd noted, he is one of the smartest players in the world. He understands that he is getting older and has long been doing everything possible to keep his body in the best possible condition. Even in Year 16, James put up numbers comparable to his prior MVP seasons.
Kidd was always lauded for his intelligence on the court and if anyone can pass on advice that James can use, it is him. He understands that it is all about the long game and it is important that James is available when it matters most if the Lakers plan on accomplishing that ultimate goal.