For everyone born after 1989, Nick Van Exel was the most exciting Lakers player in the post-Magic Johnson era. That was until the team traded for Kobe Bryant in June of 1996, and, well, the rest is history.
Despite playing in the 1998 NBA All-Star Game, the Lakers traded Van Exel to the Denver Nuggets following the season. After four seasons in the Mile High City, the point guard went on to play for four more seasons before retiring in 2006. The journeyman averaged a smooth 14.4 points and 6.6 assists per game in his career.
Sometimes numbers don't do a player justice. Luckily, Nick the Quick's highlights can help younger fans appreciate what he meant to the NBA in the 1990s and 2000s.
After his playing days ended, the former floor general spent a decade serving on several different coaching staffs. Van Exel was an assistant coach for one college, three NBA teams (including the Hawks), and one G-League team (where he also spent one year as the head coach).
The 1998 NBA All-Star has quietly worked his way up the coaching ranks and has earned his position on Head Coach Nate McMillan's staff. Van Exel has experience in all facets of coaching at the highest levels.
Now the former scout and player development coach can work with another All-Star in Trae Young. Much like Van Exel, Young stands at 6'1 and plays with flair and passion. It's clear that General Manager Travis Schlenk and Head Coach Nate McMillan are putting everyone in a position to succeed in the 2021-2022 season.