The Los Angeles Lakers are fully healthy for the first time in the past few weeks, and it’s afforded head coach Luke Walton the opportunity to evaluate various starting lineups and rotations.
One of the notable changes has been Walton starting Julius Randle and Brook Lopez together in the front court. Then in their rout of the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday, Walton substituted for Lonzo Ball a mere six minutes into the first quarter.
Ball was back on the floor to start the second quarter, residing as the only starter the Lakers were playing at that point. What prompted the unusual pattern?
“His dad was talking s–t, so I took him out early,” Walton quipped. “I’m just kidding,” he added after a three-second pause.
Walton’s good-natured jab was in response to LaVar’s latest criticism and assertion that the Lakers head coach had lost control of the locker room and players were no longer motivated to play.
As he’s done whenever LaVar’s outspoken nature has caused a media fire storm, Walton downplayed the matter. His focus remains squarely on team and Walton reiterated LaVar is entitled to have his own opinion so long as it doesn’t affect Walton’s relationship with Lonzo.
As for the reason the rookie point guard was removed, fatigue set in, and there was an intention to pair Ball with Kyle Kuzma.
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