Los Angeles Clippers: What Promoting Casey Hill and Natalie Nakase Means

The Los Angeles Clippers have promoted Casey Hill and Natalie Nakase to assistant coach and player development staff member respectively.

On July 17 , Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Los Angeles Clippers have promoted Agua Caliente and Clippers Summer League head coach Casey Hill to Doc Rivers’ coaching staff as an assistant. They also promoted Agua Caliente assistant coach Natalie Nakase to their player development staff.

These moves come off the heels of assistant coach Mike Woodson announcing in May that he would not return to the Clippers bench. With the addition of several new and young players, some of whom like Ty Wallace and CJ Williams, have experience playing with Hill and Nakase with the AC Clippers and guys like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson playing with Hill this summer, this move was smart for building camaraderie amongst the younger Clipper players moving forward.

Casey Hill is the son of former college and NBA head coach Bob Hill. From 2013-2017, Hill was the head coach of the Santa Cruz Warriors, G-League affiliate of the Golden State Warriors. In 2015 he led the SC Warriors to a G-league title.

Hill was brought on to be the head coach of the Agua Caliente Clippers for their inaugural season in 2017-18 and brought them to a 23-27 record. Considering there was a decent amount of up-and-down movement from guys like Wallace and Williams as well as bringing on a whole new coaching staff for a brand-new team, that’s a good start.

This summer Hill was tapped to be the head coach of the Clippers summer league team and led them to a 2-3 record in Las Vegas. He had a hand in jumpstarting the early development of rookies Gilgeous-Alexander and Robinson, who both had impressive showings in Vegas.

At 32, Hill will be one of the youngest assistant coaches in the league this season. Look for him to be loud on the sidelines and continue to be a solid mentor for the Clippers younger players.

Natalie Nakase made NBA history in 2014 when, during the Las Vegas Summer League, she was named as an assistant coach for the event. This meant that she was the first woman to sit on the bench as an NBA Assistant.

Nakase, a former UCLA standout, has been in the coaching ranks since 2008. In 2011, she was named as the first ever female coach in the bj League, the top men’s league in Japan, for the Saitama Broncos.

Nakase’s Clippers tenure began in 2012 when she was brought on as a Video Coordinator intern. She rose the ranks eventually becoming assistant video coordinator, assistant coach for the AC Clippers and now a member of the player’s development staff.

As a member of the player’s staff, she will be working day-in, day-out with the LA Clippers players to ensure proper training and preparation for the season.

These hires were essential for the Clippers moving forward. Bringing two people in, who know the in’s and out’s of not only the league, but also the Clippers organization is huge.

Hiring Hill along with June assistant hire Rex Kalamian from the Toronto Raptors, brings a fresh energy to a team that has made a lot of moves in the past two months. Continuity is going to be huge for the Clips moving forward after some volatility in both assistants and players over the past three seasons. I fully expect Hill to be an NBA head coach someday soon and for him to learn under a veteran, and champion in Doc Rivers will only boost his stature and knowledge in the NBA.

Nakase will bring in veteran Clippers knowledge and a trust factor that’s hard to find in the assistant coaching ranks. She brings more Clippers focused experience and for the players who are both new to the team and have been here before, Nakase will help again with this continuity.

With today’s (7/19) hiring of Jenny Boucek to the Mavericks bench as an assistant, the recent rise in female coaches in the NBA is incredibly promising. The NBA always tries to take the proper steps in the right direction for equality and the Clippers embrace this as well. Be on the lookout for Nakase to advance her career even more moving forward.

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