Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Phil Useful is prepared for the massive chair.
In an look on the Could 4 episode of the “Licensed Buckets” podcast, Useful — an assistant coach on three separate championship groups — mentioned he is able to take the subsequent step in his teaching profession.
“I’m positively at that time now to the place I do know I’m able to be a head coach,” the Lakers’ assistant mentioned in his podcast look. “I’m able to take alone group and direct the ship in that vogue.”
Useful, who has a participant growth background, additionally mentioned he would favor to not inherit a dropping state of affairs.
“One, I’m not interested by dropping, that’s for certain. I’m not interested by so-to-speak, quote-unquote rebuilding,” he mentioned. “Being a head coach, you don’t at all times get the chance to select and select what you need, however I do need a group that has the power to compete. That’s essential to me. So having the ability to take some younger expertise and placing that expertise on the ground and put your self in place to compete and be within the playoffs, I might like to be in state of affairs like that and be capable of develop some guys, be capable of assist change and create a tradition and produce a profitable method to the group, so I feel it’s a mix, however profitable is essential to me, it’s at all times been on the high of the listing for me.”
Useful is revered amongst NBA gamers as a participant’s coach and has been talked about within the rumor mill for potential head coach openings in latest seasons. He was an assistant coach for the 2015-16 NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers, an assistant on the Kawhi Leonard-led Toronto Raptors that received all of it in 2019, and has been an assistant with the Lakers, who received the NBA Championship within the 2020 Orlando bubble.
Nets star Kyrie Irving hit the championship-clinching shot for the Cavaliers in 2016 and credited Useful for a speech that turned the collection round. The Cavs fell into an 0-2 gap to start out that collection earlier than Useful lit a fireplace.
“The speech he gave after Recreation 2 actually hit dwelling for all of us,” Irving instructed The Undefeated. “It was a man-to-man speech that wanted to be mentioned, that all of us understood in an effort to, type of, will ourselves to know that we nonetheless have an opportunity on this collection. Golden State took care of dwelling courtroom. However that speech actually hit dwelling for all of us.”
Ex-Lakers breakout star Alex Caruso additionally credited Useful along with his growth into a whole basketball participant.
“The stuff he teaches us is stuff I hadn’t realized from anyone else,” Caruso mentioned. “The entrance workplace right here put collectively a group of high-character guys, high-character coaches. Help workers which might be essential to the gamers, essential to the group. It simply makes it straightforward if you present up and guys have power or individuals like Phil have your greatest curiosity in thoughts.”
The Lakers are amongst plenty of groups who’re in search of a brand new head coach after dismissing Frank Vogel on the finish of their season. The Charlotte Hornets additionally dismissed head coach James Borrego and have a beautiful job opening with cornerstones LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges. The Sacramento Kings even have a head coach opening after parting methods with Luke Walton and interim coach Alvin Gentry, and the Utah Jazz are a group to observe after one other 12 months beneath head coach Quin Snyder ends in an earlier-than-expected playoff exit.
Useful can also be a Black head teaching candidate in a league with a overwhelming majority of Black gamers however a disproportionate variety of coaches of shade. Fourteen of the NBA’s 30 teaching jobs are stuffed by individuals of shade, which is an NBA document however a mark the league nonetheless hopes to enhance.
As does Useful, who says he’s realized a lot since first becoming a member of the Lakers as a participant growth coach in 2011 that he believes he’s prepared for his second.
“It’s been an incredible studying curve for me over the past 11 years and, in all probability inside the final 3 years, I’ve actually began making an attempt to place myself in place to be checked out as head coach materials,” he mentioned. “Simply studying extra issues about defenses and offenses and breaking down X’s and O’s and recreation plans and techniques.”