When Luke Walton called his Los Angeles Lakers “soft”, the internet roared with snark from most most corners and there, off on an island lacking logic and electricity, were the last supporters of Byron Scott clamoring for a double standard the lame stream media won’t point out.
Thing is: Anyone this willing to make a connection from a legitimately exciting young coach back to arguably the worst coach in the history of American professional with only the offhand use of a simple adjective is being willingly thick.
Still that is a subjective statement. If only Walton could provide a more substantiative example of him being nothing like his predecessor. If only...
Oh hey look at this!
So, in a possession late in the fourth with the game still very much on the line, the Lakers called timeout with ball. One would imagine a play was set up taking into account that only five seconds left on the shot clock, but here we are.
This was the resulting play. Pretty it was not.
After the game, there is no doubt in my mind Byron would take the opportunity to once again point out D’Angelo Russell’s inexperience showing itself in a crucial moment, probably using it as an excuse not to play him in the next fourth quarter.
Instead, Walton took the opportunity to learn from the situation as much as he would hope his players did.
Walton said the play with Russell/5 sec. on the shot clock was “on me.” Walton said he should have reminded the players in the time out.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) March 13, 2017
This isn’t to admonish Russell of all guilt here, either. Being the point guard, it’s up to Russell to know the situation and act accordingly. He did not in this case, and it cost the Lakers a huge possession in a game they could and probably should have won.
He acknowledged this after the game.
Russell said it’s on him to know the shot clock situation regardless of whether the coach points it out. Took responsibility for it.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) March 13, 2017
This is a throw-away exchange in a season we’d all like to forget, but the act of not just blaming the players for such an obvious mistake and instead learning from it, himself, will resonate, especially given what the players were put through the last few years.
All coaches (not named Brad Stevens, according to Celtics fans) are obviously very capable of mistakes. When such errors occur, how they respond is what distances the good coaches from the Byrons.
What happened with a minute left Sunday night against the Sixers hardly matters at all in and of itself. How everyone involved handled the mistake could very well set a tone for how they’ll avoid ever making the mistake again.