Following the Los Angeles Lakers’ disappointing loss to the Atlanta Hawks heading into the All-Star break, there was a lot of chatter about head coach Luke Walton and his job security. Many wondered if Walton would make it through the break, believing the Lakers could decide to make a change in hopes of improving their odds of making the playoffs
Those thoughts were put to rest as it was reported Walton’s job was safe through at least the end of the season. It was consistent with prior cases in which Walton’s job security has been called into question, when the Lakers have backed him at every turn.
But that doesn’t mean the front office isn’t expecting improvement from Walton. According to Brad Turner of the L.A. Times, the Lakers want to see Walton hold players accountable as well as see more individual and team growth:
The Lakers want Walton to hold his players “accountable.” The Lakers’ front office personnel want to see player and team improvement as well as Walton make better in-game adjustments, the people said.
“Everyone believes in Luke,” one person said. “Now it’s about him getting the best out of the team.”
Walton will seemingly get the chance to see out the season and try to turn things around as a failure to make the playoffs would be looked at as a huge disappointment. The Lakers have continued to support him, be it from president of basketball operations Magic Johnson or owner Jeanie Buss and that remains the case here.
But Walton, like his young players, must continue to grow. Whether it is with rotations, his in-game adjustments, or how he helps his players improve, Walton must evolve and get better as a whole.
He is still only 38 years old in his first ever head coaching job so there is a ton of room for grow, but just like with players, the Lakers won’t wait forever.
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