One of the most talked about moments from the Los Angeles Lakers 117-106 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night was Julius Randle and Isaiah Thomas having a spirited argument during a timeout.
The discussion got heated enough that the two had to be separated by their teammates, setting social media ablaze with speculation about the Lakers’ team chemistry and whether or not the two could get along.
Randle himself seemed to think that was an overreaction after the game, telling reporters that his debate with Thomas was “great” and that “there is nobody I’d rather go to war with than I.T.”
Lakers head coach Luke Walton agreed with Randle’s assessment when speaking to the media after the loss, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“I didn’t see what it was about. I like it, though. I told them afterwards, I love it. As long as they’re open-minded and whatever the hell they’re arguing about, they get it figured out. We’ve been trying to get our guys to talk all year long. If it’s a heated conversation that means it’s two people that are passionate about something, and we’ll take it on our team any day.”
However, Walton also wouldn’t go so far as to say discussions that were as heated as the one between Randle and Thomas were always a good thing. Walon noted they have to lead to something productive, and he is hoping this one will:
“It can definitely turn into something bad. I don’t think that was the case with us. For now, where we’re coming from and where we’re trying to go, we’ve had a history of guys internally getting mad and not expressing themselves about certain things. I’d much rather them voice their opinions to each other. Let’s get it out there, talk about it, grow from it.”
The Lakers are still a young team as a whole, and learning to express themselves like this without it becoming a personal issue is one of the next keys to their development. Successful teams have to know how to hash out disagreements, and sometimes things can get heated between two competitive players like Randle and Thomas.
The key is for Lakers to be able to let go of any frustration with each other once the discussion is over, and from the sound of things Randle and Thomas are both ready to do that.