Jesse Mermuys Rumors
We sat down with Lakers assistant coach Jesse Mermuys to discuss, and tilted the chat towards the young core of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart and Ivica Zubac. Below is a transcription of our conversation: Mike Trudell: I know you have to avoid talking specifically about strategy, but generally speaking, the game has changed so much in the past few years. LeBron can play all five positions like few players ever, and I wonder how differently a coach can approach things given how the game has evolved? Jesse Mermuys: To be super general, the game has naturally moved towards positionless basketball. The guys have gotten bigger, faster, stronger and more skilled, and the game is just developing at such a high rate that the beauty of the vision and what we have to work with is we have a lot of positionless basketball players. Guys that can make a play, that can do multifaceted things. If you look across the roster, there are a lot of guys who can play multiple positions and to multiple things. That, in today’s NBA, is a weapon. There’s no doubt about that.
Mike Trudell: Rondo’s a career 30.9 percent three-point shooter, and Lonzo was at 30.5 percent as a rookie. How can their reputations as non-shooting point guards – even if Lonzo, especially, can get significantly better – impact a coaching staff? Mermuys: Offensively, what you’re trying to coach for all those guys doesn’t have to do with position or player or shooting ability. It’s more shot selection. What is a great shot for our team? What’s an OK shot to a bad shot? When you do it that way, Luke especially – and I think our staff as a whole – aren’t into limiting guys’ potential and what they can and cannot do. We want to show belief and support and confidence in our players. That means letting guys shoot it when they’re open. It’s just about the timing of the shot. Where it’s coming from. The flow. How many times we pass it. How many times we’ve been to the paint. Is the defense broken down. But every guy that’s out there has to be ready to catch and shoot and let it fly with confidence. It doesn’t matter who’s taking them, but let’s take the great shots.
Mermuys: We talked about positionless basketball and the dynamics of that and for another team to have to defend against that. It’s just really valuable when you have a 6’9’, 6’10’’ dude that can shoot turnarounds, handle in pick and rolls, make pocket passes, Euro step from the free throw line for a layup. That’s just hard to guard. And the older he gets, the stronger he’s going to get, the longer those strides are going to get, the more contact he’s going to be able to take. So when you’re working with that frame, what he was able to do in February, his ability to do a bunch of different things is exciting, especially for a fit alongside a guy like LeBron.
Mike Trudell: As such, you have to be encouraged about how the young guys will respond to LeBron and the vets coming in? Mermuys: Yeah, when you go from a young team and a developing team where those guys were getting all the touches, play calls, crunch time minutes to a team with more established players, that is a really hard transition for players. To have a big piece of the pie and then their piece gets smaller. That’s hard for anyone in any life, in any business. But the confidence (for us as coaches) you’re talking about comes from those guys being great dudes. They really care. They really want to win. They compete at a high level. And they’ve shown the ability to be coached, and buy into the team, and do what’s best for the team already as young players. So yeah, that’s exciting. It makes that job a little bit easier because you have faith in them as people that they’re going to be able to get through this transition and come out the other side of it, and we’ll be a better team for it.
Josh Lewenberg: Jesse Mermuys (Lakers asst/former Raptors 905 coach/quality human) on @OverDrive1050 re: coaching LeBron- “I don’t know if you can get a better opportunity in the NBA than to coach 1 of the greatest players of all-time. I’m excited. I’ve been in grind mode ever since I found out”