The Los Angeles Lakers are ushering in a new era with former player Luke Walton replacing Byron Scott as the team’s head coach. Walton will take the helm with a talented young roster at his disposal. The former Golden State Warriors assistant coach hopes to bring a progressive style of basketball to Los Angeles in hopes of turning around the storied franchise which has missed the playoffs for three consecutive seasons.
Recently, Walton made an appearance on The Big Podcast With Shaq to talk about his new gig with the Lakers. Shaquille O’Neal asked his former teammate what his expectations are heading into his first season as head coach in Los Angeles:
The expectations for me aren’t gonna be wins and losses right now, at least. The expectations are gonna be the way we play […] It’s about having an edge when you play. It’s about competing every single time on offense and defense. It’s about playing the right way […] It’s about setting the foundation of the future, because we don’t plan on this being a one-year thing.
With the roster composed of mostly young and unproven players, it will likely take some time before Walton can turn this team around. Fortunately, the 36-year-old has realistic expectations and simply wants to play the right way before having playoff or championship aspirations.
Over the past two years, Byron Scott went with an old-school approach to coaching this young Lakers squad with an aging Kobe Bryant. Scott’s old-school tactics seemed promising at first, but quickly became something the players grew tired of as the team went from 21 wins in 2014-15 to a franchise-worst 17 wins last season.
Although it will take time before this young Lakers squad begins to make good on their potential, Walton does have a talented group to work with. D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr., and Ivica Zubac provide hope for the future. Walton may be the missing piece to get this team back on track and headed in the right direction.