Former Los Angeles Lakers forward Luke Walton has made a rapid ascent up the coaching ranks after retiring from his playing career following the 2013 NBA season. Following a playing career that included two championships with the Lakers, the Golden State Warriors hired Walton to work as an assistant coach under head coach Steve Kerr.
After winning the 2015 NBA championship, Kerr underwent back surgery, and complications from that surgery have left him sidelined indefinitely. Walton has capably stood in as interim head coach amid unfortunate circumstances, coaching the Warriors to a 15-0 start heading in to their Tuesday game against the Lakers. Most are impressed and a little surprised that such an inexperienced coach has helped the Warriors get off to a borderline historic start.
Kobe Bryant is not one of those people. When asked about Luke following the Lakers' Sunday night loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, Bryant had this to say about the former Lakers' fan favorite forward:
Kobe on Warriors interim coach Luke Walton: "I used to call him the next Phil. He's an average player w/ a messed up back."— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) November 23, 2015
Well, that is probably not the parallel to Phil Jackson that Walton would have wanted, but with a real chance to coach the Warriors to a record surpassing Phil's record holding 72-10 turn with the Chicago Bulls something tells me he will be able to take this one in stride.