Following a loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday, the Los Angeles Lakers have now dropped five of their last six games. While their recent nosedive in production can be attributed to the fact they’re missing key players such as LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma and Rajon Rondo, the general consensus among the fanbase is that it’s all head coach Luke Walton’s fault, and some of their feelings are justified.
Walton has been far from perfect during this rough stretch of games for the Lakers. Yes, any team that’s missing three of their five leading scorers is going to struggle, but the lack of energy and effort Walton’s players have been displaying could be indicative of a larger problem in the locker room.
His offensive scheme, or lack thereof, has also resulted in a few frustrating losses for the Lakers over the past week or so.
However, the Lakers’ rapid digression shouldn’t fall solely on Walton and the front office seems to agree. According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, management has been understanding of the hand Walton has been dealt over the last several games:
Yes, those were a bad couple of losses by the Lakers. But with LeBron + scorers out w/ injuries, from what I gather this isn’t falling on Luke Walton as far as management is concerned.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) January 6, 2019
This report comes as a slight surprise considering all of the noise that has surrounded Walton’s job security this season.
For example, just last month Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN suggested that team president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka are itching to replace Walton with someone they can hire. Remember, Walton was brought on by the previous front office.
“Since Magic has taken over, they had been hoping to get their own coach in at some point. We saw it play out in the meeting they had earlier in the year where Magic really went after Luke,” Wojnarowski said on the “Woj and Lowe” special on ESPN”.
Johnson and Pelinka’s reluctance to pull the plug when the team is struggling shows that they’re willing to give Walton a fair shot, even if it’s just for the remainder of the season.
That could change if the Lakers continue to struggle when they’re at full strength, but until that happens, it seems like Walton’s job is safe.