Luke Walton is about to embark on his first-ever campaign as a head coach in the NBA - a full-time one, anyway - and there is some renewed optimism around the L.A. Lakers as a result.
Although he served as the assistant head coach in Golden State, Walton led the Warriors to a 24-0 start as their interim coach last season when normal main man Steve Kerr was on the shelf with back surgery.
The Dubs would go on to produce the best-ever regular season record with 73 wins and, as a result, Walton's stock skyrocketed.
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Conversely, the Lakers have fallen on hard times. They finished rock bottom of the Western Conference last term and are a far cry from the franchise that has amassed 16 championships.
On top of Kobe Bryant retiring in April, the Purple and Gold were in dire need of a change. Walton has returned to the place he won two titles as a player and he already has an idea how he will measure the organisation's success.
“To me, I'm judging our success - at least for now, who knows how long it takes - on how we play,” Walton continued. “Are we playing the right way? Are we moving the ball? Are we competing on defense? Are we growing individually and as a team? If we're doing those things, then we're having success, and I think once we do those things and we do them consistently, now wins are going to start happening.“
“I think the thing you have to be careful for is if you have a losing streak or if you're struggling a little bit is the jump ship, and start trying to change everything and panic to win a game here or there,” Walton said. “In reality whether we're winning or losing I think it's more important that we are continuing to play a certain way.”
Things won't change overnight for the Lakers, but with their promising young core and some improvements in free agency, they can certainly hope for more than 17 wins next year.