After making a name for himself as a coach during his time with the Golden State Warriors, Luke Walton was a hot commodity last summer. Walton joined the likes of Scott Brooks, Tom Thibodeau, and Frank Vogel among the most attractive coaching candidates. Walton, who began his NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers, headed back to where it all started.
62 games into his first season as head coach of the Lakers, Walton’s squad is limping to the finish line. Los Angeles has won only 19 games while also dealing with a front office overhaul, the return of Magic Johnson, and an ugly legal battle brewing within Buss family.
Despite having to deal with all of that has gone on in Los Angeles over the last few months, Walton is still very optimism about the opportunity he’s been given with storied franchise as he told Sam Amick of USA Today:
“This is an incredible opportunity,” he said, sounding very much now like when he did when he was first hired in early May. “We get the opportunity to try and rebuild and get the Lakers back on top, (and) yeah I get really frustrated with losing. It’s tough to sleep at night, but by the time I wake up in the morning, I’m normally very positive and excited driving into work about what we get to do for the day. That’s kind of the approach I take going into it.”
Walton agreed to a four-year deal with the Lakers to become Byron Scott’s successor last April. The move was highly praised by the media, fans, and current players on the team as he brings a progressive style of play from arguably the best team in the league.
As the end of the 2016-17 campaign draws near, Walton and his coaching staff will continue to develop the young players on this team in hopes of seeing some progression. There’s no question Walton has some promising young talent to work with in Los Angeles, but it remains to be seen whether a star will emerge and if the Lakers can right the ship sooner rather than later.