Lakers Nation Roundtable: Is JJ Redick Best Head Coaching Candidate?
JJ Redick
(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Lakers’ coaching search is underway and JJ Redick already seems to be the favorite among the candidates to land the job.

Redick, who played in the NBA for 15 years, has not coached at any level other than his kids’ youth games since retiring in 2021. He does do a great job as an analyst for ESPN and podcast host though, breaking down the game at a level that few can.

Earlier this year, Redick started the “Mind the Game” podcast with Lakers star LeBron James, and the two have seemed to be on the same page when it comes to a lot of schemes and philosophies.

That is why Redick is at the forefront of the Lakers’ search and although plenty more interviews are set to take place before Rob Pelinka and the front office make a hire, it definitely feels like the former Duke Blue Devil’s job to lose.

For a team looking to compete for championships right away though with a window that’s closing as James turns 40 later this year, does it make sense to bring in another inexperienced, first-time head coach? And if not Redick, who is the best candidate for the job? Our staff debates in the latest Lakers Nation Roundtable:

Trevor Lane (@Trevor_Lane):

JJ Redick is not the right head coach for the Lakers. This is a team that needs to win right now and Redick’s lack of experience has the potential to derail that endeavor. As someone who has never coached before, Redick deserves the opportunity to make mistakes as he navigates a difficult learning curve, and that’s simply not something the Lakers have the luxury of giving him right now.

It’s not impossible for Redick to find success and become the Lakers’ long-term coach but it’s asking a lot for him to step into any coaching job with no experience, let alone the Lakers’ job in the spotlight that comes with it. A better option, in my opinion, would be Sam Cassell, who provides experience as a long-time assistant coach while still possessing the upside and growth potential that the Lakers are looking for.

Ryan Ward (@RyanWardLA):

The logic of hiring a first-time head coach with zero coaching experience doesn’t make any sense to me. If we are talking about the Charlotte Hornets or a franchise that has no expectations and doesn’t have a tradition of competing for titles, then fine, bring in Redick to get his feet wet in the coaching waters. But this is the Los Angeles Lakers with 17 championship banners hanging in the rafters with a team that might not be too far from competing for a title, so make the right move and bring in someone with experience, like Kenny Atkinson.

Even though I don’t think there’s an ideal head coach for the Lakers right now considering who is currently available, I think Atkinson deserves a shot and has likely learned a lot being an assistant for Steve Kerr in the Bay Area.

Daniel Starkand (@DStarkand):

I’ll be the one that goes out on a limb here and says that JJ Redick is the best of the current candidates that have been linked to the Lakers. No, he doesn’t have any coaching experience at any level, so it is really hard to predict how he will do in his first job.

But what he does have is a brilliant basketball mind and knowledge of today’s NBA, an ability to relate to players and a presumed buy-in from LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Short of Tyronn Lue becoming available, I’m not sure any of the other candidates would be able to say that.

Ron Gutterman (@RonGutterman24):

No, JJ Redick is not the right head coach for the Lakers. If the team was moving forward without LeBron James and hitting a sort of reset button, I could talk myself into JJ acting as a Sean McVay type spark, because I do believe in his ability to be a head coach.

However, a team led by older superstars needs a veteran, and my two choices among the available candidates would be David Adelman of the Denver Nuggets or James Borrego of the New Orleans Pelicans. Both have the combination of tactical know how and ability to keep a locker room engaged that would go a long way on a James and Anthony Davis-led team.

Matthew Valento (@matthewvalento):

All signs seem to be pointing to JJ Redick becoming the next head coach, but I am very concerned about his lack of experience. I would love to be proven wrong, however, as with LeBron James only having two years left, there is little room for error if L.A. wants to contend for a title. When Darvin Ham was let go, experience seemed to be the buzz word for this head coaching search and it looks like that may not ultimately matter.

Personally, I would like Nuggets assistant David Adelman to be the guy as he runs an extremely successful offense with the 2023 champions. While he does not have head coaching experience like Redick, Adelman has been an assistant for several years now and experienced a lot with the Nuggets.

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