After formally naming new head coach Tyronn Lue on Oct. 20, the Clippers on Monday officially announced the rest of his staff, “a strong and experienced group of coaches with diverse backgrounds and perspectives,” according to Lue.
Dan Craig will serve as Lue’s associate head coach. Also on Lue’s bench when next season begins Dec. 22: Kenny Atkinson, Chauncey Billups, Larry Drew and Roy Rogers as assistant coaches, according to the team. Cam Hodges, Shaun Fein, Dahntay Jones and Beau Levesque will also join the organization in coaching and player development roles.
“They will provide our players with every opportunity to improve individually and excel as a team,” Lue said in a statement released by the team. “As coaches, their skillsets are different, but they are all great teachers with a passion for player development, who understand how to impart their knowledge. I couldn’t be more excited to get on the court with this group.”
The Clippers will retain assistant coaches Jeremy Castleberry, who played high school basketball with Kawhi Leonard at Riverside King, Brendan O’Connor, who is in his seventh season with the team, as well as Natalie Nakase, according to a source. Nakase has been with the Clippers since joining the team as an intern video coordinator in 2012. The team also announced it promoted Dan Fitzpatrick to head video coordinator and Conor Dunleavy to assistant video coordinator.
Building out the bench with experience, depth, and versatility.
Introducing this year’s staff. pic.twitter.com/tMDk0J8mg8
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) November 16, 2020
Craig arrives in L.A. following 17 seasons with the Miami Heat, including four as an assistant coach and one season spent as the head coach of Miami’s G League affiliate. He led Sioux Falls Skyforce to their first G League title, an accomplishment for which he earned G League Coach of the Year. Craig, 38, started his Heat career in 2003 as a video intern, moving steadily up the ranks until he joined Spoelstra’s bench as an assistant in 2012.
Rogers, 47, comes with 12 years of experience as an NBA assistant coach, having spent the 2019-20 campaign with the Bulls and three with the Rockets, having helped them to four playoff series wins and a Western Conference Finals berth.
Drew, 62, coached with Lue in Cleveland. He also played in the NBA for 10 years, including two seasons with the Clippers, after which he began his coaching career as a Lakers assistant in 1992. Twice before a head coach, Drew was 128-102 in three seasons in Atlanta and 19-57 in most of a season in Cleveland, where he took over after Lue was fired six games into the 2018-19 slate.
Billups, 44, played 17 NBA seasons and was a member of the Detroit Pistons’ 2004 championship team. It’s the initial foray into coaching for Billups, the former All-Star point guard with a highly regarded basketball IQ. Last season, the Denver native worked as an analyst for Clippers games on Fox Sports West broadcasts.
Atkinson joins the Clippers after spending the four seasons as the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, including leading the team to a postseason berth in 2018-19. Atkinson also previously served as an assistant coach with Atlanta and New York and was Houston’s director of player development.
Lue, a Clippers assistant coach last season, takes over for Doc Rivers, who departed after seven seasons and two bitter second-round playoff collapses. Rivers quickly was hired as head coach in Philadelphia, where he’ll be joined by former Clippers assistant Sam Cassell, the 11-year NBA assistant who spent the past six seasons coaching alongside Rivers, as well as former Agua Caliente Clippers coach Brian Adams.
This story will be updated.