The Los Angeles Lakers are about to be down an assistant coach, as Jud Buechler has departed for the New York Knicks, the latter team announced. Buechler has been a part of Luke Walton’s staff for the past two seasons, but his departure has been rumored for a while and won’t take anyone by surprise.
Still, Buechler has been a key part of the Lakers’ development and will be missed.
Buechler was mostly in charge of working with the young Lakers bigs (think Ivica Zubac and Thomas Bryant) during his time with the team. Yes, Zubac took a step back last season, but Bryant remains a source of incredible promise for the Lakers’ future at that position.
With the Lakers so directly tied to a prospect like Mitchell Robinson — another high-ish risk, high reward center prospect — Buechler would have a nice voice to help in that development, should Robinson ultimately be the Lakers’ draft choice.
The focus now turns to how Luke Walton will fill the spot Buechler vacates. Might he stick with the dynamic of a voice per positional group so as to continue the development of a young roster? Or could he opt for a more generally experienced coach who can help the offense take the next step tactically next season? Will he finally hire someone outside of The University of Arizona’s alumni group? This will be fascinating to watch.
Buechler is most likely leaving for an expanded role in New York under new head coach David Fizdale. Walton’s staff has a few names ahead of him who he was probably always going to lean on more heavily, so it’s hard to hold this departure against Buechler in any way whatsoever.
All we can do is wish him all the best on this step and see what Walton does to replace him. It’s just mostly disappointing I never thought to make a “Buechler’s day off” reference. I apologize and will do better moving forward.