Former Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. weighs in on JJ Redick as next head coach

Former Los Angeles Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. was asked about the current coaching search. His thoughts on the matter are far from uncommon.
New Orleans Pelicans v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game One
New Orleans Pelicans v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game One / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers are back to going through the coaching search with the worst-kept secret in the NBA. Despite the emotional roller-coaster that was the Dan Hurley saga, the Lakers are again being linked to JJ Redick as they inch closer to filling the vacancy at head coach.

The response to Redick as the frontrunner has been mixed, to say the least, and a former Lakers player is seemingly joining the side of the skeptics.

Redick, 39, played 15 seasons in the Association and has since earned critical acclaim for his work as an NBA analyst. The Los Angeles job would be his first time coaching at the NBA or collegiate levels, however, and that inexperience has become a consistent talking point.

In a recent appearance on FanDuel's Run It Back, former Lakers power forward Larry Nance Jr. offered his thoughts on Los Angeles' hiring process and the idea that a first-time head coach would be the ideal hire.

For those who can't watch the video, Nance said the following:

"Personally, I think a first-time head coach is not the answer. The L.A. market is really hard if you've never dealt with something like that before. Obviously, you know, you [make] a shot, you're the next fill-in-the-blank. You miss a shot, you never should've picked up a basketball in your life. It's tough. I think you probably need an established coach...You need someone with some clout."

Nance offered a thoughtful take on the matter, echoing the thoughts of many and speaking from the perspective of personal experience.

Nance, who played two-and-half seasons with Los Angeles, speaks to the unrivaled pressure of being a part of the Lakers organization. With 17 championships and a record 32 NBA Finals appearances, the expectation for any given season is to bring home the gold.

Any time the team fails to do so, the criticism of the players and coaches reaches levels that can break even the strongest of wills.

The interesting note about Redick, however, is that he's uniquely qualified to handle the pressure. During his four seasons with the Duke Blue Devils, he was the unequivocally most hated player in college basketball, if not American sports altogether.

During that trying time in the spotlight, Redick won the National College Player of the Year award, was twice the ACC Player of the Year, and earned four All-ACC Team honors.

Thriving under pressure is something that Redick is accustomed to, and being the top star at Duke in the 2000s was similar to playing that role for the Lakers. Both had rabid fanbases who accepted nothing less than a championship as the definition of a successful season—and both were universally hated by fans of just about any other team.

It's unclear if that experience has hardened Redick's resolve enough to coach the Lakers in 2024, but it's the type of rare qualification that has the Lakers intrigued by his potential.