Jay Larranaga Rumors
Jay King: Brad Stevens on Jay Larranaga, who interviewed for Knicks job: “He’s super smart. He works exceptionally hard. He always is looking proactively at projects. He’s great with individuals and helping individuals get better. His player development stuff is off the charts.”
The Knicks’ list of candidates for their coaching vacancy continues to grow. They’ve interviewed Celtics’ lead assistant coach Jay Larranaga, according to a league source. They received permission to speak to Larranaga and met with him last week, the source said. […] Larranaga is the ninth known person the Knicks have interviewed or will interview.
Larranaga, 43, is a rising young coach, who has been with the Celtics for six seasons, the last four as Brad Stevens’ top assistant. Larranaga was considered for the Celtics’ job before they hired Stevens, one of the best coaches in the league. He has interviewed for head coaching jobs in Philadelphia and Memphis previously. The Celtics have reached the postseason for four straight seasons, and had the NBA’s top-rated defense. One of Larranaga’s strengths is a Knicks’ focus now: player development. He spent two seasons coaching the Erie BayHawks, which was the Knicks’ Developmental League affiliate before they purchased their own team in 2014.
“I think role models are always really important,” Larranaga said. “And as Marcus Smart and I have worked more and more together, you start to break down all the different parts of Marcus as a person — physically, athletically, career path, all those different things.” Larranaga noticed similarities between Smart and retired seven-time All-Star Chauncey Billups. So he contacted former Celtics assistant and current Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue, who is one of Billups’s closest friends, and asked if Billups might be open to meeting with Smart. Billups responded almost immediately.
“He said he was already a big fan of Marcus’s, but also thought there were things in his game he could refine, and maybe had some experience and knowledge he could pass on that would be helpful,” Larranaga said. “I just thought it was a great role model for Marcus. Even their style of play as physical guards that are really good in pick-and-rolls, really good at hitting the open man and just making all their teammates better, it just seemed to make sense.”
On the court, Billups showed Smart simple things, like new and creative ways to find openings for his shot. But Smart found Billups’s advice about preparation most useful. “Just becoming more of a professional and working smarter, and doing things to help in the long run,” Smart said. “Just getting a routine down, keeping that routine and finding what works for you. Keeping it short and sweet to get to the stuff you’re going to do in the game.”