Luke Walton is known as a player’s coach. His ability to develop relationships was consistently cited as one of the many reasons the Los Angeles Lakers hired him a year ago, and apparently he hasn’t let his gift for motivating players go to waste just because his team is no longer playing.
Walton has been a fixture at the Lakers’ pre-draft workouts, but it’s been reported that he was around the Warriors to support his old team and ailing head coach Steve Kerr during their playoff run that ended in the team’s second NBA title in three years Monday night.
Walton may have helped the team out a little more than previously thought. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that based on the amazing, in-depth, tactical white board advice he gave the Warriors this month, it’s only fair to give Walton nearly full credit for their title.
Yes, when Steve Kerr told the media that the Warriors’ win was “mostly coaching,” he may not have been kidding. He just didn’t mean his own, as these whiteboard messages captured by Warriors player development coach Steve Nash make clear (h/t @SoCalJay01 for pointing this out):
Wise, wise words from Walton. “Stupid shit” has been the bane of many a team, including Walton’s own Lakers’ squad this year, who suffered from far, far more than their fair share of unintelligent excrement during the prior season.
The Warriors were nearly stupid shit-free on their 16-1 title run, and now that two titles have made Walton realize his wisdom is the key to winning a title? Look out everyone, here come the stupid shit-free Lakers, and they’re going to win the 2018 championship.*
*The preceding post is mostly parody. Author not liable for you believing the Lakers can actually win the title next season.
Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.