Title: What can the Lakers expect from Jesse Mermuys?
Date: June 17, 2016
Original Source: Silver Screen & Roll
Synopsis: With the Lakers poaching Jesse Mermuys from the Raptors’ organization, I tried to help Silver Screen & Roll get to know their new assistant coach.
Actual, tangible news on the Los Angeles Lakers is hard to find in the middle of June during an NBA Finals the team isn’t playing in. Most of it concerns smoke-filled backroom whispers about their intentions in the 2016 NBA Draft or free agency, but the team seems to have made a concrete move in recent days with reports they will add Raptors 905 (the Toronto Raptors’ D-League team) head coach Jesse Mermuys to Luke Walton’s assistant coaching staff.
One of the hardest things to understand from outside of a team is what exactly their various assistant coaches are bringing to the table. So to add a bit of clarity on what exactly the Lakers (and by extension their fans) can expect from Mermuys’ hire, Silver Screen and Roll reached out to Blake Murphy, managing editor of Raptor’s Republic.
Murphy covered Mermuys closely with the 905 last season, and offered some great insight into his strengths as a coach. Here is our (lightly) edited Q&A:
Silver Screen and Roll: So it sounds like you covered Mermuys pretty closely with the 905 last season. Where would you say his strengths lie as a coach?
Blake Murphy: The biggest thing Mermuys brings to the table is player development. Even in just a single year, the 905 experiment proved remarkably valuable from that standpoint. Axel Toupane played his way into an NBA contract, Greg Smith was able to re-establish himself as an NBA player, Ronald Roberts had himself on the cusp of a call-up before injury struck, Norman Powell improved a great deal as a playmaker, Delon Wright’s pick-and-roll defense improved, and Bruno Caboclo took strides (although he’s still far away) across the board. Even Davion Berry, acquired at the trade deadline, took off in just 10 games with the club.
How much of that is scouting and how much is coaching is unclear (Mermuys was also the team’s assistant general manager), but given the individual improvements, particularly with Toupane and Powell, it’s easy to get excited about what Mermuys may be able to do with the Lakers’ young core.
He’s also unrelentingly positive and seems, from the outside, like a natural fit with Luke Walton