The Los Angeles
Lakers will hire an assistant coach for Frank Vogel.
According to ESPN’s Marc Spears, the Lakers plan to hire Phil Handy. He was part of the Toronto Raptors last season, and worked with the Cleveland Cavaliers before that. In other words, Handy has coached in the last five NBA Finals. The Lakers believe that he can help them win a title, and hiring him is good in several aspects.
Handy has a
connection with LeBron James because of their time in Cleveland. The Lakers
also hired Jason Kidd and Lionel Hollins as assistant coach, however, neither
have coached LeBron, and they both have defensive background. Hiring someone
who knows how LeBron works on offense will be of great help for the Lakers. The
team needs to focus on building a team that works for LeBron’s talent. Let’s
not forget that offense has never been his primary responsibility throughout
his coaching career.
Handy was a
player development coach in Cleveland. In 2016, Spears wrote that he had a good
relationship with Kyrie Irving and actually brought him together with Kobe
Bryant. These two are really close. Of course, the development of players
should never be attributed to a single coach, but Handy did an incredible job
with Pascal Siakam who became a star in Toronto.
We don’t have
much information regarding Handy’s role with the Lakers, but he is expected to be
a front of the bench assistant. Handy will work in player development, and Kyle
Kuzma will spend a lot of time with him. He will also be given more roles than
signed Kidd, Hollins and Handy, but they are far from done at the moment. The franchise
did their best to steal defensive master Ron Adams away from the Golden State
Warriors this offseason, but he said ‘no.’ They will need at least one
assistant with an offensive background to boost Vogel’s tactics on the floor.
They haven’t employed a shooting coach in the past, but last season’s failure
may be a big lesson for the team. Who will be the next to join the Lakers?