When the Los Angeles Lakers made the decision to move on from former head coach Byron Scott and hire Luke Walton, one of the most oft-cited reasons for the latter’s hire was his ability to connect with nearly everyone he meets, and how much people want to be around him.
This has proven to be the case by the mutual praise-fest that’s taken place between the Lakers and their new head coach, and the theme is once again a constant in Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report’s feature story on how Walton has helped build a more positive culture for the Lakers.
In addition to Walton’s seemingly wonderful relationship with D’Angelo Russell and the rest of the young core, one nugget to come out of the piece was Tarik Black’s anecdote on how Walton still laces up his shoes and play five-on-five with the Lakers.
"His passing ability…oh, my God," Black told Ding. "He's still killing us with straight passes. You know he can't run and jump with us right now. His back is what it is; he can only do so much. Still…how he shares the ball, it's amazing."
That quote led to this tweet:
Luke Walton is running 5-on-5 with his young Lakers, and "still killing us," Tarik Black says https://t.co/hlg015AQqS pic.twitter.com/R2vYR7s1uM— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 23, 2016
Which in accordance with the Lakers’ new, more positive culture, meant it was time for Jordan Clarkson to have a little fun at his coach’s expense:
yo who coach killing, he out there getting locked up no buckets for him lol https://t.co/siqzgig2xx— Jordan Clarkson (@JClark5on) September 24, 2016
they better change that wording lmao— Jordan Clarkson (@JClark5on) September 24, 2016
Clarkson walked it back a bit, but the whole exchange was still hilarious:
no gas tho coach still got game tho haha— Jordan Clarkson (@JClark5on) September 24, 2016
This type of thing is the type of social media fun that simply didn’t exist last year. Maybe that isn’t something that matters, but it would seem to indicate that this team is simply less tense, and trending more towards the type of environment where everyone can enjoy themselves more.
It’s a small thing, but it would seem to be a positive sign for the growing young team.
You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.