NBA rumors are swirling around Luke Walton. In a few weeks, he will leave the Golden State Warriors coaching staff. The assistant coach is taking over as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. It’s one of the most scrutinized jobs in the National Basketball Association. There might be even more pressure after what Mitch Kupchak said recently. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Lakers general manager hired Walton because he wants the team to emulate the Warriors.
While there are still traditional head coaches like Frank Vogel remaining in the NBA, many of the guys in charge right now are looking to play uptempo. Teams see the success that the Golden State Warriors are having, and they want a piece of that. Their uptempo style has dominated the National Basketball Association over the past two seasons, even breaking the most wins in a season record that was previously held by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
Even the Cleveland Cavaliers are getting into the uptempo act. Last season, they were the ones that lost to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. They simply could not keep up with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. David Blatt was fired halfway through the season, even though he had the Cavaliers sitting atop the Eastern Conference. Cleveland opted to go with Tyronn Lue because he was more committed to being an uptempo team.
Byron Scott is a traditional NBA head coach, so the Los Angeles Lakers didn’t really play uptempo. He catered to Kobe Bryant, and the veteran preferred a slower style with a lot of isolation plays. One of the biggest reasons why the Lakers fired Scott was because they wanted D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle to be able to play in an uptempo style that is more geared towards younger athletes.
Jordan Clarkson and D’Angelo Russell will need to study endless tapes of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Luke Walton will make sure of that. He’ll also make sure that he’s readily available in case they need to ask questions about how to be a back court that can dominate the NBA. Walton will also need to get Clarkson and Russell to commit to the defensive end like Curry and Thompson have.
In Julius Randle, Luke Walton has a player that he might be able to mold in the shape of Draymond Green. The latter is one of the most versatile players in the NBA. He provides the Golden State Warriors with so many things, both on offense and defense. Randle has all the physical tools to be a versatile player. He might not be able to produce triple-doubles like Green, but Randle can still be an excellent contributor for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Since the Golden State Warriors are one of the deepest and most versatile teams in the NBA, Luke Walton has a long way to go before the Los Angeles Lakers supporting cast comes even close to being as good as their counterparts in northern California. Walton is also going to need to be able to convince some veterans that the Lakers aren’t that bad of a destination in free agency.
At the end of the day, Luke Walton isn’t going to completely copy the Golden State Warriors. That would be a foolish way to go about things because there’s so many things that need to happen for that to succeed. Walton is going to have to forge his own path. However, he has a pretty good blueprint from which he can study because Steve Kerr put together quite the formula.
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