Luke Walton’s hiring rightfully gives Lakers fans hope that the team is trying (at least now) to rebuild in the right ways. The move evidences a humility the team has not seen before — instead of hiring some insider that can restore the team to glory by reinforcing what the Lakers did in the good old days, Luke has been brought here largely to pass on wisdom gained from other spheres in the modern era (during which the Lakers have been a failure).

Yes, Luke has substantial experience within the organization, but that is not the only reason he has the job; he is the coach because of what he learned and experienced in Golden State’s first rate organization. To me, this admission that the Lakers have something to learn from the way others do things is a real turning point in their rebuild, as it suggests a willingness to embrace the revolution. And I do believe that Luke is probably the ideal candidate to bring us into the modern times, even if he (and the team) has much learning yet to do.

And there is a long, long ways to go. Trying to diagnose what went wrong with the Lakers this year is kind of like trying to pinpoint what went wrong when the economy crashed nearly a decade ago – there were too many terrifying problems to find just a single tipping point. The team was a spectacle of dysfunction and incompetence, and following it day in and day out was painful.

This piece will attempt to analyze one aspect of these struggles – the team’s offensive problems. Note the emphasis on team, as I will, largely, not look at the performance issues of individual players, and instead focus on team characteristics. For example, this analysis will look at things like what kinds of shots the team took, rather than Kobe’s TS%. This post will also not look at defense, which deserves a separate analysis, given the team’s last place finish in defensive efficiency.

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To be honest, I’m still in a bit of shock that Luke Walton is the Lakers’ new head coach. Not because I don’t think he’s ready or didn’t support his candidacy, but because it happened so quickly. Mitch Kupchak said he did not expect to have a coach hired within two weeks, but Walton was hired only 5 days after the team announced they had parted ways with Bryon Scott.

Us being heavily Lakers’ centric here, it is somewhat easy to forget that Walton deciding to come to Los Angeles also means he has decided to leave the Bay Area and the Warriors. Saturday, as that team prepared for his second round match up with the Blazers, they reacted to Walton’s eminent departure:

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After parting ways with Byron Scott last Sunday, the Lakers moved quickly and decisively on Friday in naming Luke Walton their next head coach. From the team’s press release:

Earlier today, the Los Angeles Lakers and Luke Walton reached an agreement on a multi-year contract for Walton to become the next Head Coach of the team, it was announced by General Manager Mitch Kupchak. Walton will begin his new duties at the conclusion of the Golden State Warriors season.

“We’re excited to bring Luke back to Los Angeles, where we feel he’s going to start an outstanding coaching career,” said Kupchak. “He’s one of the brightest young coaching minds in the game and we feel fortunate that he’ll be leading the on-court future of our team.”

While it was believed the Lakers were going to perform a thorough search — they received permission to interview Spurs’ assistant Ettore Messina and were reportedly going to interview former Cavs coach David Blatt — Walton was always, clearly, their top choice. They reportedly sent representatives to Oakland to interview Walton and finalized a deal quickly.

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In the excitement of the Lakers being granted permission to interview Warriors’ assistant coach Luke Walton and Spurs’ assistant coach Ettore Messina, it’s easy to forget the team will actually look at other candidates too. Yes, Luke and Messina are the presumed front-runners, but an expansive search will include more than just them.

Now, what if I told you one candidate the Lakers plan to interview (scroll down) has a resumé similar to Ettore Messina, but also has NBA experience as a head coach. And what if I told you in his one and a half seasons as an NBA head coach he won 67.5% of his games and reached the NBA Finals in his one full season. That he’s considered a top flight offensive mind, that he showed tactical flexibility in the face of an evolving roster, and that he also got his team to play good defense.

This guy sounds intriguing right? Now, what if I told you his name is David Blatt.

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The Lakers have already received permission to interview Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina, but he is not their only target who is currently assisting a league powerhouse hoping to make a run to the championship. The other, of course, is the Warriors’ Luke Walton and the Lakers have moved quickly to get permission to interview their former 2nd round draft pick as well.

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We’ve reached a point with the Lakers where when an executive speaks, we have to hold our breath for the inevitable backlash as each sentence is broken down, word by word. Tuesday morning, when tweets came across the timeline that Jeanie Buss would be speaking publicly on the state of the Lakers with Colin Cowherd, my immediate and visceral reaction was “great, more of this.” In following with recent seasons, her comments didn’t meet my already considerably lowered expectations.

The appearance leaves more questions than answers, following a trend the Lakers need to correct if the organization wants to earn back the fanbase’s confidence they’ve lost due to how these last few seasons have gone.

Here’s the full interview:

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After parting ways with Byron Scott on Sunday, the Lakers are already moving forward in their search for a new head coach. While they are expected to look at a long list of candidates, it is a fair assumption they have a short list of top choices they would like to interview and gauge interest in soon.

Mitch Kupchak noted on Monday he does not envision the hiring process being strung out, explaining a hire could be made as quickly as within two weeks. In order to get the ball rolling, then, they must start to reach out to potential candidates and line them up for interviews. Well, that process has begun.

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Byron Scott is no longer the Lakers’ coach. While a vocal portion of fans rejoice loudly, right with them there is also a chorus of questions about next steps and whether those in charge are going to make a coaching decision which propels the team forward. The doubts this will happen are real and they exist for the exact reason there is even a choice to make now.

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