When Luke Walton was hired to take over the Los Angeles Lakers in late April, one of the primary selling points for the former Golden State Warriors assistant was his youth and exuberance. Now, it appears that Walton is putting that energy to good use… in lighting up his own players in five-on-five drills.
As part of a feature about Walton in Los Angeles, Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report spoke to current Lakers big man Tarik Black, and he revealed that Walton is “killing” his players on the court:
“His passing ability…oh, my God. He’s still killing us with straight passes. You know he can’t run and jump with us right now. His back is what it is; he can only do so much. Still…how he shares the ball, it’s amazing.”
While it isn’t a shock to consider that Walton would move the ball well given his skill set as a player, the 36-year-old drew even more praise from Black in that Walton’s presence on the court illuminates the path to future success for the Lakers.
“It shows us what he’s looking for. It’s easier to imitate something than to hear something and try to make it happen. We honestly love it, because how much fun is it to play with your head coach? And talk trash with him.
“Then you start understanding he really cares. He’s out here playing with us. He’s out here having fun with us. This is someone we can have fun with. That just builds a trust and relationship that you need in order to be successful.
“That sets the culture of caring. And guys are going to imitate that, too—really imitate that.”
Of course, there almost had to be push back from other parts of the roster, and combo guard Jordan Clarkson chimed in on Twitter to throw shade in Walton’s direction.
yo who coach killing, he out there getting locked up no buckets for him lol https://t.co/siqzgig2xx
they better change that wording lmao
no gas tho coach still got game tho haha
Even Clarkson, though, relented in the end in that saying that Walton “still got game” and, at the very least, there is a new energy and enthusiasm surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers that simply wasn’t present during the Byron Scott era. Any buzz about what will or won’t happen on the court is just talk at this point, but the Lakers undoubtedly sought Walton to change the culture for one of the league’s flagship franchises and he appears to be doing just that.