Luke Walton will
make his head coach debut this season after a very successful stint as assistant coach and interim head coach for the Golden State Warriors last season. And he’s made it clear that he wants to bring the same winning attitude and culture that Steve Kerr has created in Golden State down south to Los Angeles.
Speaking about the team with ESPN, Walton had this to say:
“The culture that we had up there is what I’m trying to build down here,” Walton told ESPN’s Baxter Holmes. “Obviously, [there are] different starting points. It’s a different plan of attack because of where we’re at and the youth that we have. Obviously some new coaches are coming in and some new [veteran players are] coming in. But the way they did things, as far as big picture, is something I’d like to see down here with the way our players develop and look forward to coming and doing the work today.”
Golden State became a powerhouse through the smart development of talented young draft prospects into league superstars. With a roster featuring D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram and Jordan Clarkson, Walton hopes to have the right pieces in place to do the same for the Lakers.
It was just a good work environment,” he said. “It was a family atmosphere. Guys enjoyed coming in and competing every day. There was a value on doing things the right way. There was a value on the way that people held each other accountable.”
“And I think that kind of provides the right platform for growth and players that want to come in and work every day, even on optional days. We had an optional day last week and every guy on our team was in there — some longer than others — but they were still all in there, which is what you want to see.”
Walton’s mentor, Golden State head coach Steve Kerr, definitely thinks Walton has what it takes to redefine the culture of Lakers basketball.
“He’s just got great social skills, interpersonal skills,” Kerr said. “Everybody who knows Luke just loves being around him. He’s smart. He’s funny. He’s a wise-ass, but he’s self-deprecating at the same time. He talks trash. It all comes across in a really fun, well-meaning manner. Everything he does. And it’s all genuine. There’s no facade. There’s no mind games. No trick questions. He’s a great communicator and he’s fun to be around.”