Let’s go back to last year, when LaVar Ball was questioning Luke Walton’s coaching credentials, age, technique and just everything else short of wardrobe. There was some concern that, given how quiet Magic Johnson was at the time, he may not have had Walton’s back. If there was any continued wondering on the topic, it flew out the window after Thursday’s press conference, in which Johnson and Rob Pelinka made it quite clear that Walton is their guy.
Johnson and Pelinka’s support of Walton was one of three things Pete and I took away from the presser.
We start, however, with the scrimmages they spoke so highly of, in which all kinds of teaching and mentorship has been taking place. This was obviously thrilling to hear about, except for one tiny detail — a player who hasn’t been participating in said pickup games: Lonzo Ball.
Look, a ton has been made of Ball’s injury woes. In a vacuum, they’re frustrating enough, but when you see what he’s really missing out on, that annoyance really takes another step forward. Here’s hoping he can get back as soon as possible, as the Lakers will need him healthy to start what will be a challenging season.
Back to Luke, though. One quote that really stuck out was Magic alluding to the aforementioned tough stretch the Lakers have to open their season. According to Johnson, he and Walton have discussed this, and Magic says that, no matter what, he’s patient. This is absolutely great to hear.
Remember, Walton isn’t a Magic/Pelinka hire. While Jeanie Buss has been crystal clear in her support of the Lakers head coach, Magic was noticeably absent in the same regard last year. That he and Luke appear to be very obviously on the same page now is a crucial development.
Lastly, while we’re on the subject of absence, presence and Magic’s “guys,” Brandon Ingram’s name didn’t come up nearly enough for our liking. We discuss some reasons for that and the trend that makes that worth taking note of.
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 on iTunes.