The Los Angeles Lakers made a major move this summer when they replaced embattled coach Byron Scott with the highly sought-after Luke Walton, who had been Steve Kerr’s right-hand man with the Golden State Warriors. However, Walton wouldn’t be the only new face in the locker room. As a young coach, the former-Laker knew that he needed to surround himself with seasoned basketball minds, and to accomplish that goal he brought in assistants Brian Shaw, Jesse Murmuys, and Casey Owens.
Walton didn’t stop there, though, bringing on Jud Buechler, who won three NBA championships as a player for the Chicago Bulls. Buechler had been coaching his daughters with Wave Volleyball Club in San Diego, but once both of his girls moved on to college, he had the itch to return to his roots in the NBA.
Walton, to his credit, recognized what Buechler’s diverse NBA experience could bring to the Lakers. Buechler explained how he fits on the young team to Terry Monahan of The San Diego Union-Tribune:
“I’ve seen it all. I played on a Nets team that won 24 games and I’ve played on the ’98 Bulls, the best team ever in the NBA…“I feel I have something to contribute. I know what a healthy locker room looks like and I know what a dysfunctional locker room looks like…“That, I think, is my greatest asset to the Lakers.”
Buechler isn’t wrong in his assessment. The Lakers are brimming with young talent, but they need veteran voices around to guide them and ensure that their enthusiasm and energy are being utilized in a productive manner.
Buechler also has an excellent understanding of how important chemistry is. The Lakers have a young core in place who have both positional and skill-set diversity, which means that, in theory, they could grow together for years to come. If they can be molded into a cohesive unit, as Buechler will attempt to help them do, then we should see a fun, exciting Lakers team next season.