The Los Angeles Lakers helped to usher in a wave of optimism when they replaced embattled coach Byron Scott with Luke Walton earlier this summer. The 36-year-old Walton had spent the past two seasons learning under the tutelage of Steve Kerr and the Golden State Warriors, and the hope is that he can bring that free-flowing offense with him to the Lakers.
Of course, Walton will pattern his own coaching style off more than just Kerr’s example. In college, he played for famed coach Lute Olson at the University of Arizona, and as a player for the Lakers he learned under the great Phil Jackson. Walton isn’t stopping there, though, taking advantage of an opportunity to visit Los Angeles Rams training camp and pick the brain of head coach Jeff Fisher and his staff.
Walton was complimentary of the Rams coaching staff and looked to be enjoying the experience (via therams.com):
“I wanted to come learn. Obviously, our season is starting soon, and coach Fisher has been at this a long time…I came down with an open mind. I know it’s obviously different sports, but coaching to me is coaching. It’s how you relate to the players and different strategies.”
While there may not be many football strategies that translate directly to the basketball court, Walton is correct that good coaching is good coaching regardless of the sport. Given the Lakers young core, the way Walton relates to building blocks like D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, and Brandon Ingram will be crucial.
It’s also refreshing that Walton is willing to admit that he is still learning. He took over as head coach of the Warriors temporarily last season when Kerr was out with a back injury, but other than that has limited experience coaching in the NBA. Walton will experience some bumps along the way, but he appears to be on the path to becoming an excellent leader for the young Lakers.