The Los Angeles Lakers seem to be rounding up their coaching staff. With Luke Walton soon to join as the new head coach of the team, the Lakers are building up his support system. Brian Shaw has already been appointed the associate head coach of the team, even joining the front office during presumptive second overall pick Brandon Ingram’s workout.
It appears the Lakers have added another name to the coaching staff in Jesse Mermuys. Former Time Warner Cable SportsNet analyst David Miller first reported the new addition (h/t Ben Rosales of Silver Screen & Roll) and now Chris Reichert of Upside Motor has confirmed it.
Mermuys spent the previous season as the head coach of Raptors 905, the Toronto Raptors’ D-League affiliate in Missisauga. Before that, he has spent time as a video coordinator for the Denver Nuggets as well as an assistant coach for the Houston Rockets and the Raptors.
Mermuys was also previously the Director of Operations at the University of Arizona where Walton played college basketball. Their tenures did not occur at the same time, however. They are connected in that Mermuys was the director of a basketball camp help by Walton and current Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson.
As for Mermuys’ skills and abilities that can be beneficial to the Lakers, it appears the 35-year-old is known as a players’ coach and someone who can relate to young players. Murmuys has had a very visible role in developing the Raptors’ younger players (both with the parent franchise and in the D-League) with players such as Terrence Ross, Norman Powell, and Bruno Caboclo thriving under his watch.
In an article written in October, Eric Koreen of the National Post shared some insight into Mermuys’ methodology in that respect:
“I’m going to miss those close personal relationships with the players that I’m working with,” Mermuys said on Wednesday. “It’s hard to do that as the head coach, because you have to make some of those tough decisions. I’m still going to try to do me, but I will miss those close-knit (relationships), letting them lean on me or being able to pick them up when they’re down, things like that.”
Mermuys is speaking about the change from being an assistant to becoming a head coach. In this short snippet, one can see that he values working with young players and knowing them personally in order to help them grow. That can be an incredibly valuable skill on a team as young as the Lakers with players needing all the support they can get to maximize their potential.
In a similar vein, and from the same article, Raptors coach Dwane Casey had high praise for Mermuys:
“He’s got to be who he is,” Casey said. “That’s one of the things that makes him a good coach, his personality, his demeanour, his approach to the game. My suggestion to him is don’t change. If you try to change then you come across as being someone who you’re not.”
We do not know much about Mermuys from a strategic standpoint other than the fact that Raptors 905 had a 23-27 record last season. The Lakers would do well to look for more help in that regard considering the inexperience of their new head coach. But from the little factoids that we have about the young coach, it appears that this could be a very good hire for the Lakers.
Having undergone an incredibly difficult last season, the Lakers’ core is in dire need of having voices in the locker room that can help them improve by developing them correctly. From the looks of it, Jesse Mermuys could be the perfect fit in that regard.