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Lakers Rumors: Chris Gent hired from Hawks as lead assistant coach

The Lakers have reportedly made their top hire for Darvin Ham’s coaching staff in the form of Chris Jent of the Atlanta Hawks, according to multiple reports. Jent has been an assistant coach in the league since 2003 with the last four of those years being in Atlanta and was rumored as a candidate to join the Lakers this week.

There are various aspects of this hire and why it came about including, as Woj mentioned, Jent’s previous relationship with LeBron James. The two were together in Cleveland from 2006 until James left in 2010. Back then, James had plenty of praise for Jent.

Back in 2015, LeBron talked about his free throw shooting and specifically mentioned Jent as someone who helped him make strides in his performance at the line while in Cleveland.

“We have an unbelievable staff (in Cleveland) that voices their opinion about what I should do, what things they can do to help me get better,” James said. “I had a shooting coach years back in Chris Jent that helped my shot out a lot when he was here as an assistant coach. From there on I just kept the same routine. He helped me out a lot.”

It wasn’t just his free throw that Jent helped improve as LeBron’s entire shot was remade alongside Jent, as detailed in a 2013 Sports Illustrated piece by Lee Jenkins.

Five years into his career, James began remaking his shot with the help of Chris Jent, then a Cleveland assistant. They focused on developing what Jent called a “calmer” shot: more on-balance, with his shooting forearm perpendicular to the floor.

After LeBron, Jent has maintained his ability as a shooting coach by helping John Collins improve his 3-pointer in Atlanta. Collins went from a 34% 3-point shooter in his first two seasons to a 38.8% shooter the last three years, including shooting 40.1% from range in the 2019-20 season.

Jent will now step into Los Angeles where, theoretically, he could help the Lakers out in a number of ways. For example, having the same positive impact on Talen Horton-Tucker’s jumper that he did with Collins’ could drastically change THT’s game and how the Lakers can use him.

What’s clear, though, is the Lakers have landed someone with a wealth of experience, a relationship with James and a track record of success at the NBA level, all huge positives for Ham’s biggest hire on the staff.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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