Luke Walton had a ton of success while filling in as interim head coach with the Golden State Warriors this season. 39-4 is obviously an impressive stat, but it's still hard to know how he'll do as a head coach with the Los Angeles Lakers, a much less talented team than the juggernaut he got to coach in Golden State.
Walton spent time as a player development coach with the Lakers D-League affiliate, the Los Angeles D-Fenders, during the 2013-14 D-League campaign, and two of his former players over that time were impressed with his coaching style.
"He was as cool as you'd think he'd be," said guard Andre Ingram, an eight year D-League veteran. "A players' coach." D-Fenders point guard Josh Magette echoed that sentiment.
"I would say he is a laid-back type of coach," said Magette, "He never raised his voice but when he talked, people listened."
Both guards praised Walton's ability as a teacher. Before injuries took their toll on him, Walton was a multifaceted role player, skills Ingram said he tried to pass along to the D-Fenders big men.
"He was huge on teaching bigs how to be versatile threats," said Ingram. "Whether they were shooting, making a play with the ball, or hitting guys for scores."
Walton was perhaps best known for his floor vision. Magette, the D-League's leader in assists this season with 9.2 per game, credited Walton for some of his development.
"With his playing experience, he had a lot to share and teach," said Magette. "The way he sees the game is something I was able to take away from playing with him."
Magette also admired Walton's ability to communicate with his players when they made mistakes.
"He would approach us and just talk to us," recalled Magette. "A lot of coaches talk down to their players but Luke did a good job of talking to us. He would draw on his experience as a player to help us."
That last skill will be most important as Walton looks to help develop a young Lakers roster that will continue to be prone to mistakes as they grow next season. If his time with the D-Fenders is any indication, Walton sounds up to the task.
All quotes obtained firsthand. You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.