Luke Walton and his coaching staff have quite a situation to navigate, politically speaking. He isn’t a Magic Johnson or Rob Pelinka hire. He didn’t come at the referral of LeBron James. No, he’s the only hire that’s left of one of the least popular people in the history of the Los Angeles Lakers (Jim Buss).
Fans tend to analyze his decisions as if they take place in a vacuum, but that just simply isn’t the case. He has egos, agents, and bosses to keep happy. One would imagine Walton really enjoys being the coach of the Lakers. And unfortunately, playing-time dispersement can be way more complicated than we realize.
Case in point: Josh Hart and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Hart has been so far-and-away better than his veteran counterpart that it’s painfully obvious to anyone watching. And yet, Caldwell-Pope remains a Klutch client, an agency closely tied to LeBron James — whom you can imagine the Lakers want to keep happy however possible.
On today’s Locked on Lakers, Pete and I discuss how we think this might go and why we think a move should be made sooner rather than later (mostly: Josh Hart is better at basketball than Kentavious Caldwell-Pope — groundbreaking stuff, I know). As frustrating as it might be, this one might take more time than you think.
From there, we turn our attention to Kyle Kuzma, who looked exponentially more comfortable playing in his more natural position. Once again, the Lakers have a decision to make here, though this one will more rightfully take more time. The question here is how much fit matters compared to talent.
Kuzma does a lot of the things the Lakers need offensively with LeBron on the court, but Ingram makes up for a lot on the defensive end and is the more talented overall player. It’s going to take more than one strong start from Kuzma to displace Ingram from the starting lineup.
Finally, we discussed Jonathan Williams’ breakout debut and what it says about the center rotation that comparatively speaking, a two-way un-drafted rookie was able to step in and immediately look like a better fit than a veteran (Michael Beasley) and a former near-first-round pick (Ivica Zubac was drafted 32nd overall, two picks into the second round).
As always, this is just a tidbit of the full context given in the show. Listen to the full discussion below and please check out old episodes, or guarantee you won’t miss any ever again by subscribing to either “The Lake Show” or “Locked on Lakers” on iTunes.