CJ McCollum praises JJ Redick, breaks down fit as head coach of the Lakers

JJ Redick is widely regarded as having one of the most impressive minds in sports media. CJ McCollum discussed how that helps him fit with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Los Angeles Lakers v New Orleans Pelicans - Play-In Tournament
Los Angeles Lakers v New Orleans Pelicans - Play-In Tournament / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages

JJ Redick and the Los Angeles Lakers have taken the long route to what still appears to be an inevitable outcome. Some within the organization insist that other options are being considered, but Redick's name has persisted as a frontrunner for the head coach position.

While most agree that it will eventually happen, there's one question that perhaps isn't being asked enough: Do his peers think he can coach in the NBA?

It's only a matter of time before Redick is hired as the head coach of an NBA franchise. He previously interviewed for the Charlotte Hornets vacancy in 2023, is now at the forefront of the Lakers' search, and is profoundly respected by his peers.

During an appearance on ESPN's Get Up, New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum offered high praise for Redick as a basketball mind.

"JJ is a brilliant mind. He loves the game. He's diligent. They have this podcast. He's been auditioning for months. For weeks they went from talking about the game to talking about exactly what they would do in certain situations. I've seen him draw up ATOs! It's getting very interesting."

Despite his lack of coaching experience, this has been a consistent theme in discussions about Redick as a potential fit on the sidelines.

Redick played 15 seasons in the NBA and four as an All-ACC level player with Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke Blue Devils. He was the National College Player of the Year as a senior, as well as a two-time ACC Player of the Year during his storied collegiate career.

Redick was also the proverbial late-bloomer in the NBA, averaging a career-high 18.1 points per game on a 51-win Philadelphia 76ers team at 34 years of age.

This is generally viewed as a product of Redick's uncanny ability to diagnose plays and understand exactly where to be to help his team. Since retiring, he's utilized that knowledge to excel as an analyst and take on an educational role in helping fans understand the nuances of the game.

McCollum is the latest in a long line of peers to praise Redick for that ability—and it's likely that Pelinka and the Lakers feel the exact same way.

For as intriguing as that part of Redick's candidacy may be, there's another area in which skepticism persists: His lack of coaching experience. It isn't necessarily a reason teams should avoid hiring him, but it does provoke thought about the specific organization that's looking to make him a first-year head coach.

McCollum discussed exactly that when asking two questions that could go a long way towards deciding how Redick fares as the potential head coach of the Lakers.

"It all comes down to two things, right: What does JJ actually want to do? Is he invested in taking this type of job, understanding that LeBron has two or three years left? And from a success standpoint, what is success to him? Because to the Lakers organization is a championship and I think that's an unfair expectation to put on JJ, who has never coached before, to think he's just going to come in and win a championship."

Those questions must be asked by the Lakers and answered by Redick before he can truly consider accepting a potential job offer.

Redick has a personal connection to James, but the four-time MVP will turn 40 near the beginning of the 2024-25 season. As such, accepting the Lakers job would mean aiming to coach beyond the James era, with an established emphasis on developing the younger players on the roster.

While that job description might suggest that an organization will be patient as their new head coach finds their footing, Los Angeles is anything but.

As the Boston Celtics prepare to hang banner No. 18, the Lakers will be more focused than ever on winning in the short term. Considering the limited window that exists for James and Anthony Davis to win a second championship together, that would lead Redick into the proverbial pressure cooker from day one.

As McCollum noted, it all comes down to whether Redick is up to the daunting task of rebuilding the Lakers into a championship team as soon as he takes the job.