Variety is the Strength of Mike Brown’s Staff

The Sacramento Kings officially announced Mike Brown’s coaching staff for next season. The team’s new head coach called it “a diverse and talented group” that “will positively impact our players’ individual development.”

“Collectively, they all embrace the core values that will be critical to our overall team success,” Brown said. “I couldn’t be more excited to work with them.”

It was evident back in May that Brown’s staff was striving for a culture-friendly and varied group. After all, that’s when his top three assistants—two out of three were on the Nigerian National Team staff—were hired in Jordi Fernandez, Jay Triano, and Luke Loucks (the three of whom you can learn more about here).

An assistant last summer for Nigeria, Fernandez comes with an equal parts academic and international perspective on the game of basketball. With both a PhD in sports psychology and the co-authorship of an academic paper, Fernandez has a very structured foundation as a coach. At the same time, hailing from Spain and initially starting out in Europe before making his way in the states means he offers a wider perspective. And it all ties together and garners him respect from coaches like Brown and Denver’s Mike Malone, whom Fernandez was an assistant under for the previous six seasons. 

Fernandez also coached the Kings through last month’s Summer League, working closely with 4th overall pick Keegan Murray.

Jay Triano is one of the most decorated players and coaches to come out of Canada. After playing overseas and being an integral piece on Canada’s national team, Triano became a head coach at his alma mater in British Columbia. It was there that he encouraged a young recruit named Steve Nash to go to Santa Clara, a move that paid off. Triano also served two stints as the head coach of the national team, in between each he had a stint as head coach of the Toronto Raptors. He added more experience as the interim head coach for the Suns in 2017 before becoming an assistant for the Hornets, where he’d been for the last three seasons.

Another assistant on the Nigerian team last summer was Luke Loucks, whose defensive bona fides seems like a direct result of the joint influence Brown and Golden State’s longtime defensive-minded coach Ron Adams had on him. After playing in college, the developmental league, and overseas as a player, Loucks got a job with the Warriors organization in 2016 as an intern prior to working his way to becoming a player development coach three years later. Last year, he left the sideline to work for the Suns organization in a front office role.

Loucks notably has close connections to De’Aaaron Fox via his wife, who worked with the new assistant in an internship program for college athletes transitioning to coaching. As Mike Brown told Sam Amick, Fox was so high on him that he kind of wanted “Luke Loucks to come with him” on his honeymoon.

In addition to those initial hirings, it was announced that much adored assistant and former player Doug Christie would remain on Sac’s sideline.

Then, last month, former Sixth Man of the Year Leandro Barbosa was hired as the fifth assistant coach. The Brazilian Blur won a championship with the Warriors (two seasons before Brown joined Kerr’s staff) and has served as a player mentor coach for the club since 2020. During his last year playing in the NBA, Barbosa returned to the Suns for a season in 2016 when Jay Triano was an assistant in Phoenix.

Other newcomers were announced for roles as well, including head of player development Dutch Gaitley, player development coach Deividas Dulkys, and head video coordinator Charles Allen.

Gaitley got his start as a video intern for the Spurs in 2013 before he worked his way up to head video coordinator. For the previous four seasons, Gaitley was an assistant in Charlotte under James Borrego, who also started out in San Antonio’s video department way back when.

Once a member of the Lithuanian National team—like current King Domantas Sabonis currently is—Dulkys will become a player development coach after serving the same role for the Memphis Hustle of the G League last year. Before that, he posted a six-year playing career overseas after playing at Florida State with Loucks.

Allen was an assistant video coordinator for the Suns and Rockets before he became head coordinator for the Jazz three years ago. After holding that post in Utah, he will do the same in Sacramento.

With the new hirings, some assistants that were on Alvin Gentry’s staff to end last year won’t be returning, headlined by popular player development coach Rico Hines, who joined Toronto’s staff.

Yet, other than Christie, other familiar faces still remain. Most notable among them is player development coach Lindsey Harding. The number-one pick in the 2007 WNBA Draft, Harding has been an assistant on the Kings since 2019 when she was hired after spending a year with the 76ers organization.

Garrius Adams also returns as Sacramento’s assistant video coordinator, and Robbie Lemons will move from his role within the basketball operations department to becoming the Senior Director of Coaching Analytics and Strategy.

Altogether, Mike Brown is right to highlight the fact that each member of the staff comes with their own background and specialties because, with the help of its interconnections, it could help orchestrate the team’s development and thus the culture in Sacramento.

However, whether Brown and his staff can do what hasn’t been done since Rick Adelman left remains to be seen. So, as is the case with the new talent on the roster, fans are rightfully eager to see how all of this works in concert when the season finally begins.

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