After it was rumored that Reggie Theus would become the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers' D-League affiliate a few weeks back, it finally became official Monday, when D-Fenders president and CEO Joey Buss announced the hiring from El Segundo, California. The D-Fenders are coming off their most successful season since the club became the single affiliate for the illustrious Lakers organization, and Theus will look to fill the vacancy left behind from the D-League's "Coach of the Year" last season, Eric Musselman.
The D-Fenders finished the year as runner-ups in the D-League Finals to the Austin Toros, and ended their 2011-2012 campaign crowned as the D-League's Development Champion. It was the first time the league handed out the award, which is given to the team that best embodies the D-League's goals. The main goal in which the league is constantly striving towards is developing NBA talent, and that is something Theus is very familiar with. Theus has been able to experience NBA talent through his multiple avenues in the game from both playing and coaching. This was a key attribute that the D-Fenders and Buss thought was important when selecting Theus.
"Reggie’s extensive NBA background coupled with his experience developing players at the collegiate basketball level will make him a great asset to our franchise. We look forward to working with Reggie and building upon the record-setting season we had last year."
Theus spent last season as a Pac-12 analyst for Fox Sports Net, and has never been one to shy away from the camera. In fact, Theus is likely the only coach in the D-League with a IMDB page. Obviously, coaching the D-Fenders doesn't exactly carry the same media attention that it would coaching the Lakers. But, Theus' knowledge and familiarity with the media surely won't hurt him as he is an integral part of the Laker family now.
Before his broadcasting sabbatical last year, Theus spent two seasons as an assistant with the Minnesota Timberwolves under former Laker great Kurt Rambis. It was in 2007 when Theus saw his head coaching career reach it's pinnacle, when he was hired by the Maloofs for the Sacramento Kings head coaching job. Theus lost his job after the Kings began the 2008 season with a 6-18 record, the publicly known squabble between Theus and the owners, coupled with the slow start, led to his dismissal. Regardless, Theus got a taste of what it's like to be a head coach in The Association, is that his ultimate goal now returning to the sideline in L.A.?
If Theus is able to continue the success that the D-Fenders achieved last season for an extended amount of time, NBA teams will take notice. His pedigree is there, and it would be hard not to believe that Theus, only 55 years old, wouldn't want to prove himself on the NBA stage once again. While Theus regains his coaching credibility, the D-Fenders organization will continue to do it's best to assemble Theus with all the tools he will need for success.
In an organization that prides itself on championships and winning such as the Lakers, Buss expects the same with his D-Fenders team, and their hiring of Theus will give them the best opportunity to reach those goals.