The Los Angeles Lakers were thrilled to bring Luke Walton on board this summer as their new head coach. Walton, who spent most of his playing days wearing a Lakers uniform, promises to bring an up-tempo style that will be based on the skills of young, talented played like D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, and Brandon Ingram.
After spending two seasons with the Golden State Warriors, Walton’s return to Los Angeles has helped to usher in a wave of optimism among Lakers fans. With that being the case, the Los Angeles Dodgers decided to invite Walton to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before their game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday (video courtesy mlb.comm):
Walton was able to throw the ball safely across home plate, avoiding the embarrassment suffered by Nick Young a few years ago. Perhaps more importantly to Los Angeles fans, Walton’s pre-game interview featured another peek into his thoughts on rebuilding the Lakers.
Walton reiterated his desire for the Lakers to play a fun and entertaining style of basketball and asserted that the players enjoying themselves on the floor would translate into the fans enjoying watching the games. This approach is a stark contrast to the one employed by former coach Byron Scott, who had a more old-school, no-nonsense demeanor.
So far, the change appears to be a positive one, as several Lakers players have expressed their excitement about playing for Walton. With a roster built around youth, Walton astutely recognizes the importance of making sure that his players not only learn but also enjoy competing, and that’s something that bodes well for the future of the Lakers.
Of course, it also has to be noted that Walton receives a much warmer reception at Dodgers Stadium than Clippers guard Chris Paul, who is loudly booed whenever he makes an appearance. While there was never much doubt, Los Angeles is still very much a Lakers town.