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Luke Walton has nothing but praise for the Lakers young players

Los Angeles' new coach likes his new players.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Luke Walton has always had a reputation as a nice guy. Less than 24-hours after the Los Angeles Lakers named him as the 26th coach in franchise history, it's easy to see why.

During his first appearance with the media since accepting the Lakers coaching job, Walton dished out nearly as much praise for the team's young core of Julius Randle, D'Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, and Larry Nance, Jr. as they received over the entire two years under former head coach Byron Scott.

There were reports after Walton was hired that a major reason he took the job was because he was "high" on the Lakers' young talent and thought D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle could be All-Stars, and he confirmed these reports to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times after the Golden State Warriors' practice on Saturday, starting with the versatile forward the Lakers hope Walton can help polish:

He also has high hopes for the Lakers' other recent lottery pick:

As a role player during his career, Walton learned every team needs players to do the dirty work. He hopes Larry Nance, Jr. can fill that role in Los Angeles:

And finally, the Lakers new coach sounds like he definitely wants to keep the team's biggest (restricted) free agent around:

This type of praise for the young players coming from a Lakers coach is a refreshing change from last season. This group of players still has a lot of work to do to live up to their new head coach's expectations, but Walton seems like the type of hire that can help them reach their ceiling.

You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.

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