Some interesting NBA news, as Luke Walton has won the Western Conference Coach of the Month award despite not having a single victory on his record, according to ESPN.
Here are some official stats for the season. The Golden State Warriors have 19 wins and zero losses thus far. Head coach Steve Kerr has coached none of the games, but has 19 additional victories to add to his overall record. Assistant coach and interim head coach Walton has been on the sidelines with Stephen Curry and the Warriors for every single game, but has absolutely nothing on his coaching record. Today, he was awarded as the Coach of the Month for the Western Conference.
In a rule that will need to be changed sooner rather than later, the NBA does not credit victories to interim head coaches. Whatever the team accomplishes goes to the head coach even if he is nowhere near the bench or the sidelines. To his credit, Kerr has been very outspoken about this particular rule. He doesn’t like it. The former Chicago Bulls guard has campaigned for Walton to receive credit for his work. Kerr is a very staunch supporter of Luke and wants to see him become a head coach somewhere in this league.
While the credit should be shared all around, the fact that Walton has been able to get a 19-0 record out of the Warriors in place of Kerr leads many to believe that the roster is extremely loaded. Casual fans all know about Curry and his ascension towards the top of the NBA ladder. Many feel that the former Davidson star has surpassed Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant as the best player in the league. Little do they know that there is a lot more to Golden State than just their franchise player.
Warriors forward Draymond Green has developed into a match up nightmare for the entire NBA. On offense, he is athletic enough to shoot and drive from the perimeter. Defensively, he is strong enough to defend centers. Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala and Harrison Barnes form quite the trio on the perimeter. Shaun Livingston and Leandro Barbosa add veteran depth at the guard positions. Marresse Speights, Festus Ezeli, and Andrew Bogut provide Golden State with some muscles on the inside.
When you succeed in the NBA, other teams are going to want to take a bite out of you. Players, assistant coaches and front office executives are going to be recruited by other teams. Barnes is going to be a restricted free agent so opposing general managers are going to throw out big numbers at him. Thanks to his success as an interim head coach, teams are going to be curious about giving Walton a chance to become a head coach of his own team. Since it is a great career opportunity, Walton might have a hard time turning them down.
An interesting scenario for Walton would be if the Los Angeles Lakers were to give him a call. Head coach Byron Scott was specifically brought in to appease Kobe Bryant. Now that Kobe has announced his upcoming retirement, the Lakers might prefer someone to replace Scott, who admittedly is not good at grooming younger players. Walton has a history with Los Angeles since he played for them. At just 35 years of age, Luke might have an easier time connecting with young guys like D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, and Julius Randle.
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