The Los Angeles Lakers made huge leaps forward as a team on the court this season. Luke Walton coached them to their most wins since the 2012-13 campaign, and L.A. posted its best defense since then to boot.
Part of that success was that all of the Lakers’ young players burst onto the scene and played effective basketball right off the bat while still continuing to develop and add to their games throughout the year.
Lakers assistant Miles Simon, who worked primarily with Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma this season, was a large part of that development.
Although, Simon told reporters at “The CATSYS,” a University of Arizona event he helped Richard Jefferson host, that he learned just as much if not more than his pupils during his first year on an NBA bench, via Justin Spears of the Arizona Daily Star
“Tremendous, great learning experience. Working for Luke was unbelievable. What a great basketball mind that he is and for me, I was a Lakers fan growing up since I’ve been 8, 9 years old. My boss is literally my idol, Magic Johnson. It was a tremendous experience, we have a great, young team with Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball who are all so fun to be around, but it was the best experience I could’ve asked for.”
Kuzma and Ball consistently credited Simon for being instrumental in their growth as players during their rookie season, and getting young first-round picks to improve while their team tries to win games is no easy task.
Simon also helped stir the competitive juices, as he formed a duo with Brian Shaw to regularly compete in around-the-world against Ball and Kuzma following practices or shootarounds.
Simon lauded how much he was learning from Walton, and the head coach also deserves credit for empowering his staff to be so instrumental in the development process of two of its most key pieces, and trusting his coaching staff to make sure they reach their full potential.
While the Lakers might not have seen Simon’s work bear results in terms of playoff contention, they did have their best season in quite some time. If Simon can continue to help Ball and Kuzma improve and develop, then the team will surely be happy to help him live his Lakers dream for a long time.