Editor's Note/Update: Chris Reichert of Upside and Motor (essentially the Adrian Wojnarowski of D-League journalists) reports he has confirmed Mermuys is joining Walton's stafff.
Original story follows:
Courtesy of the Golden State Warriors' continued playoff run, the Los Angeles Lakers have unfortunately yet to secure the services of their head-coach-to-be in Luke Walton. Around this time of year, new head coaches would be putting together their staff, helping the front office plan for the draft, and in a few weeks, preparing for summer league.
Save for the hiring of Brian Shaw as associate head coach to act as his proxy for such things, however, Luke has (justifiably) been much more interested in ensuring that the Warriors repeat as champions. His frequent contact with Mitch Kupchak notwithstanding, it is understandably difficult for Luke to execute any of the traditional duties of a head coach while devoting his full attention to his current responsibilities.
This noted, we might have received some indication of another name Luke has recruited for his staff:
Hearing Tucson native Jesse Mermuys will be joining LUKE WALTONS staff in LA...if my memory is correct he used to run Walton's youth camps— Dave Miller (@coachdavemiller) June 11, 2016
Although he was recently let go by Time Warner Cable SportsNet, Dave Miller nevertheless is undoubtedly still tuned in to a certain degree to what the team is doing, and shares with Luke a connection to the University of Arizona that likely informed the possible hiring of Tucson-native and fellow Arizona graduate Jason Mermuys. None of the Lakers beat writers have substantiated Miller's report, but we likely will receive confirmation one way or another fairly soon as the Warriors are on the verge of wrapping up their series with Cleveland.
As for Mermuys, he was most recently the head coach of the Toronto Raptors' new D-League affiliate, Raptors 905, and played an important role in development of the Raptors' young players, surprising playoff contributor Norman Powell in particular. The prior two years, he was an assistant on Dwane Casey's bench and twice served as the team's summer league coach. The rest of his NBA career is rounded out by five years of assistant stints in Denver and Houston, and he also spent time organizing the basketball camps for both Luke and fellow Arizona alumni Richard Jefferson.
In this light, Mermuys' hire is not one especially out of left field for Luke, who only has so many connections he can reasonably draw on as a very young head coach. Other than the current staff with him in Golden State, anyone who played with or coached him during his time as a Laker, or the multitude he briefly saw during his short time with Memphis, the D-Fenders, or otherwise, Arizona alumni are likely one of the biggest sources Luke can tap.
While Mermuys doesn't cleanly fall into either of the defensive coordinator or veteran presence categories Luke is likely still looking for on his staff, his relationship with Luke no doubt will be one of the factors helping the latter's transition to a full time head coach.
Mermuys' own contributions to the team are likely going to revolve around his developmental skills, a worthy addition given the panoply of young players on the squad who could benefit from his guidance and experience. His own philosophies on either side of the ball are more difficult to discern given that the Raptors, as with most franchises, impressed a good deal of the philosophies of the parent team onto their affiliate, but he did make a public note of playing more uptempo during his short stint there (apropos for the D-League, in which nothing is done at anything less than a fantastically fast tempo). Altogether, this report is hopefully a harbinger of more to come as Luke finishes his return from Golden State to LA.
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