The Los Angeles Lakers plan on letting Luke Walton finish the season, according to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t want to see him make a few changes.
According to the report by Turner, the Lakers’ front office wants to see Walton improve as a leader and tactician:
The Lakers just want Walton to hold his players “accountable”. The Lakers want to see player and team improvement and to see Walton make better in-game adjustments, people said.
Walton has been criticized for inconsistent rotations since he took over as head coach in 2016 and it was even one of the topics brought up in the Lakers’ heated locker room spat earlier this month. However, it’s worth taking into consideration that Walton’s rotations and lineups have been as unpredictable as they’ve been in part because of the injuries that have plagued the locker room this season.
Still, he and his coaching staff were hired to make the most of what they have and one could argue that Walton hasn’t done that, particularly when it comes to how he staggers his star players’ minutes, or doesn’t.
As far as holding his players accountable, Walton has done a pretty decent job of that.
Throughout the season, Walton hasn’t been shy about challenging his players to better. The most recent example of this was when he called out Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram by name to step up and be leaders in LeBron James’ absence. Ball and Ingram responded by having one of their best games of the season.
The weight of his words in the locker room might not hold as much weight as they once did, but that likely has more do with the players’ lack of trust in the organization than it does their trust in Walton himself. Regardless, that’s something he needs to regain control of.
If Walton can do that, he’ll have a better chance of leading the Lakers to their first playoff berth in six years. If he can’t, there’s a good chance this season is his last.