The Los Angeles Lakers made big moves this summer, including selecting Brandon Ingram and Ivica Zubac in the NBA Draft and signing veterans Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng. However, arguably the biggest move they made was letting go Head Coach Byron Scott and replacing him with former Golden State Warriors Assistant Luke Walton.
Walton is expected to bring a new culture to the organization; one that is more player-friendly and connects with the team’s young players. During an interview with NBA TV, Walton explained who is was that first encouraged him to give coaching a try.
“Phil told me when I was still playing that he thinks I would make a good coach….he told me that when I had a major back injury happening, and I might not be able to play anymore. I was pretty depressed in my life at that time. So he invited me into the coaching room with his staff. You know, B. Shaw was on that staff, and they included me in what they were doing as a way to keep me involved and keep me upbeat. But he had told me early on that if I wanted to get into coaching he thought I would be a good coach. He’s a huge influence on the way I see the game of basketball. The way I see life, really. I’ve been very lucky to play for him and Lute Olson and the last two years with Steve (Kerr) was just an unbelievable learning experience.”
That Phil Jackson inspired Walton is no surprise, as he has been known to bring out the best in his players. Jackson often used unconventional methods during his career, and likewise, Walton is considered to be a non-conventional coach. While odds are that Walton will never reach Jackson’s lofty heights with eleven NBA championships, he has a solid foundation of coaches that he has learned under and has the potential to be a very good coach.
The young Lakers are reportedly thrilled with Walton’s arrival, and if all goes well, we could be witnessing the dawn of a new era of Lakers basketball.