One of the major reasons for optimism about Luke Walton's upcoming head coaching tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers has been how positively those who he's worked closely with talk about him. It's a trend that continued when Hoopshype interviewed several of Walton's Golden State Warriors players, all of whom spoke glowingly about his time with them.
"He's a guy that played in this league for a long time, he really understands how the league works, how to talk to the players. They're going to get a lot of good qualities," said Anderson Varejao, who joined the Warriors midseason but had previously played alongside Walton with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
It was Walton's playing time with a different team that Marreese Speights cited when predicting success for his coach.
"They're getting a good young guy who knows the game, who played with the Lakers, he's going to be a big face in that community down there," said Speights. "[He's] going to get them to another level that they haven't been in the last couple of years."
At least one of his players joked that he hoped Walton wouldn't quite get the Lakers to that level just yet.
"Hopefully he brings nothing to them and we beat them every game this season to be quite honest with you," cracked Warriors center Andrew Bogut, who then admitted he thinks Walton will do fine.
"Luke's a very smart guy, a very high basketball IQ as a player and as a coach," continued Bogut. "He did a phenomenal job for us filling in for Steve and I think that he'll do a good job."
Walton famously started out 24-0 with the Warriors while filling in for Steve Kerr while he dealt with back pain, and Bogut wasn't the only one who thought he did admirably, and just might bring along some of that success with him to Los Angeles.
"When Steve wasn't here, he did a really good job. He' really calm, successful, and he was doing something that I wouldn't expect," said Warriors guard Leandro Barbosa. "He did a great job, we definitely respected him and he's going to get a lot of respect in L.A. too."
You can watch video of the players' comments here:
Warriors feel Luke Walton will succeed as head coach.https://t.co/EC1x9cGVmO— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) June 13, 2016
All quotes transcribed via Hoopshype. You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.