Newly hired Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton had a lot of success with the Golden State Warriors this season using a fast-paced, quick hitting offensive system designed by Steve Kerr and the coaching staff. Walton's 39-4 stint as interim head coach with the Warriors is one of the reasons he was hired by the Lakers,officially signing his five-year, $25 million contract this morning, according to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times, and it sounds like he isn't planning to mess with a good thing.
Walton plans to play an "uptempo... free flowing open offense," according to Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak during an appearance on ESPN Los Angeles (via Serena Winters of Lakers Nation). Kupchak also noted that Walton does not plan to hire an offensive specialist as an assistant, viewing himself as the team's "primary offensive coach/coordinator" and will instead look to hire a coach specializing in the defensive side of the ball.
This reveal from Kupchak does make sense, because while the Warriors were historic on the offensive end of the floor this season, boasting the league's most efficient offense while scoring 112.6 points per 100 possessions during Walton's 43 games at the helm. This was an improvement over the Warriors already phenomenal 109.7 offensive rating the year before.
The team's drop in defensive rating from a 98.2 to 98.8 was so slight as to probably be insignificant, but if there is an area where Walton would need help the numbers at least marginally point to it being on that end. That isn't to pin the Warriors nearly nonexistent drop on defense as some blight on Walton's ability, but if he's willing to admit that is the end he needs more help, that is a positive.
Who Walton looks to bring in to help his in an unknown so far, but it's not like the Lakers couldn't use the help on that end either after posting the league's worst defense last year on their way to the worst record in team history. Regardless of who it leads to joining his staff, Walton looking to address the defensive side of the ball is another positive sign for his tenure as Lakers head coach.
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