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:
What’s clear is how much Walton will be missed by that entire group. Kerr seemed especially…I don’t know if conflicted is the right word, but he clearly expressed a sentiment of understanding what losing Walton would mean. Noting he did not expect Walton to depart for a head coaching job so soon, Kerr seemed to hope he’d have his top lieutenant around for a bit longer to build on the success they’ve shared over the past two seasons.
I thought Walton’s comments were also very interesting, especially his note about wanting to bring elements of the offense the team runs in Oakland rather than implementing the Triangle offense. Walton specifically said he did not think the Triangle suited the players the Lakers currently have, but that what the Warriors run now (and what he’ll try to bring to the Lakers) has elements of that offensive philosophy, citing spacing as a key component.
We’ll have plenty of more time to breakdown how what the Warriors run might translate to the Lakers’ personnel, but hearing him speak to this for the first time was refreshing (and, if I’m being honest, a bit of a relief). In any event, I think the clip above reinforces the idea the Lakers got a good one. It looks like the Lakers’ gain really will be the Warriors’ loss.