What JJ Redick has said about the current Los Angeles Lakers roster

The Los Angeles Lakers have hired JJ Redick to become the new head coach. What do past comments indicate about his thoughts on the current roster?
Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers
Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages

After weeks of suspense, the Los Angeles Lakers have finally committed to hiring JJ Redick as their eighth head coach since Phil Jackson retired in 2011. It's been widely expected in NBA circles, but after the Dan Hurley saga cast doubt on its inevitability, some questioned if it would ever materialize.

Now that Redick has been formally hired as head coach, a simple question has been presented: How will he help the current players improve?

All eyes are on franchise players Anthony Davis and LeBron James. The two All-NBA superstars are the driving forces behind what the Lakers have accomplished, including a championship and a second Western Conference Finals appearance.

On an episode of The Old Man & the Three from July of 2023, Redick expressed his appreciation for the unsung heroes on the Lakers roster—a possible sign of things to come.

"[Austin Reaves] is a secondary, tertiary shot-creator and playmaker. They run offense through him. He's got a bag of tricks. He shot the s*** out of the ball over the second half of the year. He's a phenomenal player."

Redick continued:

"Now, if you look and you’ve got Gabe Vincent coming, Taurean Prince coming on a very favorable one-year contract. Gabe Vincent is making $11 [million] and not even the full mid-level. You bring [D’Angelo] Russell back. You bring [Rui] Hachimura back, they’ve got a really good basketball team."

Much has changed between now and then, but many of the players who Redick referenced are signed through next season—and Prince, a free agent, wants to return for the 2024-25 campaign.

It's possible that D'Angelo Russell will decline his player option and walk in free agency. The Lakers could also opt against re-signing Prince. For that matter, both Rui Hachimura and Gabe Vincent are candidates to be traded, if only because of their contracts.

What Redick's comments prove, however, is that he sees the value in the players beyond the superstars—and that includes a clear appreciation of Austin Reaves.

At the time that Redick made his comments, Reaves was coming off of a breakout season in which he helped the Lakers reach the Western Conference Finals. He built upon that in 2023-24, posting career-best marks of 15.3 points, 5.5 assists, 4.3 rebounds, 0.8 steals, and 1.9 three-point field goals made per game.

Based on Redick's comments, it stands to reason that his outlined plan of alleviating playmaking pressure from James could include a bigger role for Reaves.

Regardless of how it materializes, the promising sign is that Redick is looking to build a more cohesive and balanced rotation. He's spoken at length about the value of depth on the Mind the Game podcast, and is clearly high on the pieces that Los Angeles currently has.

As the Lakers search for ways to return to contender status, Redick seems to have a vision that focuses on the value of depth in place of an overreliance on superstars.

It could be a new day in Los Angeles, after all.