After the worst season in franchise history, the Los Angeles Lakers hired head coach Luke Walton for the 2016-17 NBA season.
With the Lakers focused on developing their young core, Walton has improved the team’s record by nine wins in each of his first two seasons. As players like Julius Randle and Brandon Ingram have praised the 38-year-old’s coaching style, the circumstances have significantly changed with the arrival of LeBron James in free agency.
Although James signing a four-year, $153 million contract signals some form of patience, the Lakers are expected to compete for championships sooner rather than later.
Channing Frye, who is connected to both Walton and James, discussed the one change the team’s coaching staff will have to make for the 2018-19 season and beyond on Road Trippin’: Richard vs. Channing:
“I actually think their coaching staff will be fine. I think the communication is going to have to change, because they have to do a lot of teaching with Kuz and Josh Hart and Zo, B.I., and big Zubac, who I like a lot. Big Zu. Like, that’s five guys. Now, my question is, as a person who’s been there, what happens to their development? Luke has to win, right? Are you going to play a guy you don’t know what you’re going to get, or are you going to play Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley, Bron, Rondo, JaVale McGee? You have to play the experience. So what happens to [the young players]?”
Before the Lakers signed James, Frye opined ‘any superstar’ would want to play for Walton. Despite being one of the youngest head coaches with only two years of experience, his system allows for learning and growth.
As Walton and James recently met at the Las Vegas Summer League, all eyes will be on their relationship as they look to lead the Lakers back to their championship ways.