Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton has had a ton of influences throughout his fast rise up the coaching ranks. The likes of Phil Jackson, Lute Olson, and his father Bill Walton are all important. The man to give Walton his first NBA job however, is Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.
Walton spent two seasons with the Warriors and his 39-4 run as interim coach while Kerr was dealing with health issues is what truly put him on the map as a future head coach. Kerr is viewed as one of the premier coaches in the league and he believes Walton is built much the same way as he is.
In an interview with Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN, Kerr spoke about the similarities between himself and Walton, from their upbringings in California to their coaching influences:
“I think Luke and I are as much alike as human beings as any two coaches could possibly be in the NBA,” Kerr said. “When you consider our backgrounds, growing up in Southern California, on the beach, laid back, both played for Lute Olson [at Arizona], grounded in the fundamentals of Lute, Tex Winter and Phil Jackson, deeply in love and passionate about the game but not to the point of obsession. Good life balance, family man, he has younger kids, I have older kids.
“Luke is as much like me as anybody I can think of, and our coaching profiles probably reflect that.”
Obviously Walton doesn’t have the coaching success of Kerr, but such is the case when taking over a young re-building Lakers team as opposed to a perennial playoff team in the Warriors.
Walton is a young coach who still has a lot of growing to do, but there is a reason he is viewed so highly by his former coaches and players he has coached. The foundation is there for Walton to succeed, now he will have to grow into the job and become what everyone believes he can.
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