The firing of then-head coach, Byron Scott, in April, was a sense of relief for Lakers’ fans. The relief was followed by anxiousness as the Lakers searched for their next head coach. Five days later the anxiety ended as the Lakers hired their former player, Luke Walton.
Walton was drafted by the Lakers in 2003 with the thirty-second pick, early in the second round. He spent nine seasons in Los Angeles, winning a championship in both 2009 and 2010. He was then traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2012 where he played a lone season and then retired.
After a few minor coaching stints at the University of Memphis and in the NBA Development League, Walton became an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors in 2014-15. In his first season with the Warriors, he won his first ring as a coach.
The following season, Walton was as the Warriors’ appointed interim head coach as Steve Kerr dealt with back issues. In Kerr’s absence, Walton lead the Warriors to a 24-0 record start to the season, the best in NBA history. Upon Kerr’s return to the team, Walton brought the team to a 39-4 record, the second-best start for a team in league history.
Walton was hired by the Lakers early in the Warriors’ playoff run but vowed to finish the season with the team. The Warriors’ season lasted until the last possible day, as they made it to game seven of the NBA Finals in which they came up four points short of their second consecutive title.
Thus officially began Luke Walton’s job as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. And with him, Walton brings an uptempo style of play that will produce a lot motion on offense with screens and cuts, leading to easy baskets for the Lakers. Not to mention championship-level defense that the team will slowly but surely learn to play.
Two weeks away, now, from his first career game as an NBA head coach, Walton has Lakers’ fans excited for a season that will see the building and progression of a team that will return to the top of the league in a few years.