The Los Angeles Lakers are starting fresh with a new head coach. Luke Walton had been their target all along after parting ways with Byron Scott, and the interest was mutual making for an easy pitch to the former player.
As the Lakers brass transitions into a new era without Kobe Bryant, Walton will try to lead a group of young players as the rebuilding process continues in Los Angeles. Bryant, who was recently honored by the city of Los Angeles with “Kobe Bryant Day,” was recently interviewed by Jim Rome of CBS Sports and talked a bit about his former teammate. Kobe believes Walton’s true calling was to become a coach in the NBA:
“He has a great demeanor. He’s always been poised, always even-keeled, and he communicated very clearly,” Bryant said. “I could speak strategically to Luke about the game, and he could see things and sequences of options versus one or two actions. He could see the grand scheme of the game, and so all those things kind of led me to be believe he’d be a great coach, always felt that was really his true calling when it came to the game.”
After leading the Golden State Warriors to a 39-4 start to the 2015-16 NBA season, Walton became an intriguing candidate for coaching vacancies around the league. Steve Kerr was rehabbing from back surgery, and Walton inherited an incredibly talented team. The Warriors assistant coach was able to manage egos as well as keep the squad on the track while making history with the best start to a season the league has ever seen.
Obviously, Walton’s task ahead with the Lakers is a daunting one and the polar opposite of the championship-caliber team he just came from in Oakland. The first-time head coach will now inherit a team filled with unproven players and a lot of uncertainty moving forward without Bryant to lean on.
The Lakers brass appears very confident in Luke Walton’s ability to help right the ship in Los Angeles, but there’s an uphill battle ahead with this team expected to continue struggling as D’Angelo Russell and company learn how to put it together on the basketball floor.