Los Angeles

Lakers Officially Fill Out Coaching Staff

Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton has put together a strong coaching staff with championship experience

Luke Walton's coaching staff has been filling out since before he even arrived in Los Angeles, but on Friday, the Lakers decided to finally make the moves official.

Jud Buecler, Brian Keefe and Theo Robertson officially joined Walton's staff as player development coaches, though the trio had been visible around the facility for some time. In terms of bench coaches, Walton singled out Brian Shaw as his lead assistant, while Jesse Mermuys and Mark Madsen fill out roles on the front of the bench.

Mermuys coached the Lakers' Summer League team and had a fun, energetic personality that appeared to match well with young players like D'Angelo Russell and Ivica Zubac.

Madsen, meanwhile, is the only member of former coach Byron Scott's staff to survive the summer. Likely, Madsen's relationship with the organization and with Shaw played a role. Madsen and Shaw played together on the Lakers from 2000-2003 and won three titles together. The former Stanford Cardinal has been with the Lakers' organization since 2013, when he took over as head coach of the LA D-Fenders, the Lakers' NBA Development League affiliate.

The D-League appears to be pipeline for coaching staff, as Walton also picked up the 2015-16 D-Fenders coach Casey Owens as his assistant/advanced professional scout. Similarly, the Lakers promoted video coordinator Will Scott, who has served the D-Fenders, LA Sparks and Lakers in some capacity going back to 2011.

A close examination of Walton's staff makes one thread increasingly clear: championships. Walton won twice with the Lakers as a player and won one title as an assistant with the Golden State Warriors. Shaw and Madsen shared a three-peat with the Lakers. Buecler played with Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls and won three titles, including a 72-10 season. Keefe, who spent the majority of his coaching career with the Oklahoma City Thunder organization, was a video coordinator with the San Antonio Spurs during their 2007 championship run. Robertson shared in the Warriors' 2015 NBA Championship, as well.

Walton may only be starting his first year as an NBA Head Coach, but the amount of highly coveted jewelry seated on the Lakers' bench is an asset and no accident.

The Lakers may not be challenging for an NBA title anytime soon, but LA's young squad should pick up plenty of championship-winning habits from the bottom to the top of the Lakers' staff, which should pay dividends for the developing team in the long run.

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