The Los Angeles Lakers added former Los Angeles D-Fenders head coach Casey Owens to their coaching staff, according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. Owens led the D-Fenders to the D-League Finals last season, where the team lost in three games to the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
The D-Fenders were fourth in the league in offensive efficiency under Owens as the team played a pass-happy, fast-paced style last season. What role he’ll take with the Lakers remains unclear, but Owens was universally well-regarded by his players and those in the D-Fenders’ organization. The team bonded strongly in the playoffs on their run to the finals as the four-seed, having to win on the road in each of their series to advance.
Walton actually once served as a player development coach with the D-Fenders under Owens, and he now gives his former boss his first NBA call-up after Owens served as Jesse Mermuys lead assistant with the Lakers’ Las Vegas Summer League team.
Owens' former D-Fenders point guard Josh Magette thinks his old coach can help the Lakers.
"He does a great job of communicating with his players and gets the most out of what he has," Magette told Silver Screen and Roll. "He has a lot of experience all over the world and will bring a different way of viewing things."
Magette spent his second year as a pro under Owens, and believes he can empower the younger Lakers like he empowered Magette.
"I just remember him giving me confidence while I was out there and telling me that I belonged, so I think he can do that with a lot of the Laker guys as well."
That may already be starting. This is speculation, but Owens’ hire might have been behind this tweet from D’Angelo Russell on Wednesday morning, whom he worked closely with during summer league:
This Laker coaching staff is something special. Man I'm excited #LakerNation— D'Angelo Russell (@Dloading) August 17, 2016
Owens will be reportedly be replaced with the D-Fenders by Coby Karl, son of former NBA head coach George Karl, according to Shams Charania of the Vertical.
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