Luke Walton may not be a perfect head coach, but one thing he has been is open about his decision making process and how he evaluates his team.
Within the last week, Walton has spoken at length about the types of wins he feels are good for the Lakers, why he’s sat Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell down the stretch of certain games, and why he’s not concerned about the team’s culture even after their 49-point loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
Walton elaborated on that last point at the Lakers’ practice on Monday, and he hadn’t changed his thought process.
Luke Walton doesn’t plan to change his approach & isn’t worried about team not buying in to what he’s teaching (see tweets that follow)— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) January 23, 2017
Luke (1/3): "It’s important now when times are tough that we keep consistency. I don’t think it makes a lot of sense to change everything— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) January 23, 2017
Luke (2/3): “...we’ve been doing all year b/c of struggling w/ wins when we’re in a process of getting a young team to the next level."— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) January 23, 2017
Luke Walton (3/3): “I think we’ve gotten through to our team, I think they’ve bought in, we’re not going to change what we’re doing."— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) January 23, 2017
And Walton, despite losses where it appears the team isn’t up to play like the one on Sunday, does not appear to be in danger of losing the team. They rarely dispute his postgame assessments after games, something that was subtly common under the last coaching staff.
The Lakers may not have translated it to the court in recent weeks, but they have made progress. It’s been slow, but it’s important to remember that the team is also just one win shy of their total for all of last season.
The baby steps are there if you care to look, and until it looks like the players aren’t buying in, there is little Walton and his staff can adjust about their approach. The team just needs to keep chipping away.