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Redick hits right notes at Lakers' introductory press conference, now real work of improving roster starts - NBC Sports

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JJ Redick is introduced as new head coach of the LA Lakers.

El Segundo, CA, Monday, June 24, 2024 - JJ Redick fields questions as the new head coach of the LA Lakers during his introductory press conference at the UCLA Health Training Center. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

“I have never coached in the NBA before. I don’t know if you guys have heard that.”J.J. Redick had all the right jokes and said all the right things when the Lakers introduced him as their new head coach on Monday. He spoke to Lakers fans and played into their — and the organization’s — often outsized expectations.

“Sitting in this seat, I know what the expectations are,” Redick said. “Lakers fans have some of the most passionate fans around the world and the expectation is a championship. It’s my job, it’s our staff’s job, it’s Rob’s job, it’s all of us to deliver a championship-caliber team. That’s what I signed up for.”

Redick also is not worried about proving his critics wrong.

“I really don’t give a f***,” Redick said. “Like, honestly, I want to coach the Lakers. I want to coach the team. I don’t want to dispel anything. I want to become a great coach in the NBA. And I want to win championships. And I want my players to maximize their careers. That’s all I f****** care about.”

How good a coach Redick is and how long it will take him to grow into the job (even with veteran assistants around him) remains to be seen. However, the reality of the Lakers next season is this:

If they don’t improve the roster it doesn’t matter how good a coach Redick is.

Redick reportedly wants to get LeBron James off the ball more and “elevate” Anthony Davis’ role, in part by putting him more at the four and finding a traditional center to play some minutes. That means the Lakers need more shot creation, especially if D’Angelo Russell opts out and tests the free agent market, and all eyes are turning to Atlanta, reports Jake Fischer at Yahoo Sports.

The Lakers, remember, held serious talks with Atlanta about acquiring Dejounte Murray in the lead-up to February’s trade deadline. Jerami Grant, a client of Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, is believed to be another potential addition on the Lakers’ wishlist, according to league sources.

Trae Young from the Hawks is another name long linked to the Lakers, although they appear to have more interest in Murray.

The Lakers need to add players who fit the positional versatility Redick wants to deploy and need more shot-creators. That and a traditional center seem to be the offseason goals, and the Lakers are willing to trade the No. 17 pick this year and two future first-round picks for the right players.

This Lakers team isn’t bad, it won 47 games last season and outplayed its +0.6 net rating. LeBron James and Anthony Davis were both All-NBA players (and nobody around the league thinks LeBron is leaving in free agency). However, in a West with Dallas bringing a Finals team back, Oklahoma City getting better, Minnesota running it back and Anthony Edwards improving, Denver not going anywhere with Nikola Jokic, Memphis getting its 50+ win core healthy and back, plus teams with deep talent on the roster such as Phoenix and New Orleans, there is no margin for error for the Lakers. General Manager Rob Pelinka has to upgrade the roster for Los Angeles to have a legitimate chance.

Then the pressure falls to Redick.

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