Currently the longest tenured Laker aside from Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher, Luke Walton has been around for the good times and the bad. Considered a “son” by Phil Jackson, Walton’s basketball IQ made him a perfect fit for the championship-winning triangle offense. Jackson trusted Walton when he was on the floor, and he knew that Walton would make the right decision with the ball in his hands. However, after the increased depth at the small forward position, Walton was forced to take a back seat.
Instead of being the first three-man off the bench, Walton fell behind both Ron Artest and Matt Barnes on the Lakers’ depth chart. Walton was not involved in the Lakers regular rotation, and he only received playing time if an injury plagued one of the players.
Walton played in 54 games this past season, and averaged nine minutes per contest. The Lakers did not get much out of Walton, as he scored only one point, grabbed one rebound and dished out one assist per game.
The future for Luke Walton with the Lakers is still uncertain, and fans are not sure whether or not he will return to the team next year. Even though he fits within the offensive system perfectly, he would likely see more playing time on another squad. The Lakers have given Walton considerable time in seasons prior, but this current team forces him to watch most of the games from the sidelines.
Final Grade: D
Luke Walton did not produce enough for the Lakers to receiving a passing grade; his efforts were too minimal due to many reasons. Perhaps he will see more playing time if the Lakers decide to trade away players, but remain with Walton.
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