Luke Walton calls his ascent to L.A. Lakers head coach 'unusual'

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In the wake of Kobe Bryant's retirement, it has been all change for the L.A. Lakers.

The Purple and Gold, who have amassed the second most titles of any franchise in the NBA, are now in a period of transition. They have gone from the hottest destination for free agents in the world, to a barren wasteland of the NBA.

The decline has been quite spectacular. Only six years ago the Lakers won their last championship and hoisted the Larry O'Brien trophy in the air.

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A slew of short-sighted free agency signings and trades have seemingly brought the organisation to its knees. The Lakers have become a lottery team for the last three straight seasons and could only manage a franchise record-low 17 wins last season.

That appeared to be the breaking point for many suffering Lakers fans and most of all, the front office. Byron Scott was fired with one-year remaining on his deal as the Lakers brass decided it had to move quickly to acquire the highly sought-after Golden State Warriors assistant coach, Luke Walton.

With Walton comes a new era in L.A. The former power forward only wound down his career - which yielded two titles for the Lakers - three years ago. At 36-years-old, he is undoubtedly one of the most inexperienced coaches in the league.

Tyronn Lue of the Cleveland Cavaliers replaced Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics as the youngest active coach last season when he assumed control of the Cavs at 38-years-old.

Lue went on to win the championship last season making him the second first-year coach in successive seasons to hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy, following Steve Kerr from the year before.

It goes to show that experience isn't everything, and the experience that Walton does have is with an ultra-talented Warriors lineup who started last season 24-0 under his guidance while Kerr was medically unable to steer the side.

Speaking of his meteoric rise to one of the most storied franchises in the game, Walton didn't hide from the obvious concerns about his experience.

"It was unusual," Walton said. "It happened faster than I would have guessed. I think obviously Steve's health issues and being the interim head coach up there for 40-plus games this year was the main reason the process has sped up and obviously the success we've had up there.

"I know I still have a lot to learn, but I think everybody does, no matter how long you've been doing any job. I'm excited and I feel like I'm ready for this and I'm looking forward to it."

Walton comes from one of the most revolutionary and exciting offences the league has ever seen with the Warriors. If he can transfer that style into the clearly talented, but very young Lakers roster, there might just be a revival on the cards, of sorts.

Julius Randle
L.A. Lakers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
Larry Nance Jr.
D'Angelo Russell
Kobe Bryant

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