How Luke Walton is changing the whole outlook of the L.A. Lakers

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Football News

When Luke Walton left his cosy spot as the assistant coach of the phenomenal Golden State Warriors to become the head coach of the worst L.A. Lakers team in history - record wise - it was always going to be a different world for the 36-year-old.

Of course, Walton was a two-time NBA champion with the Purple and Gold during his playing days and found glory alongside the likes of Pau Gasol and the legendary Kobe Bryant.

However, the latter has now retired after 20 years at the Staples Center and the talent at his disposal is a far cry from the teammates he revelled in the glory of a title with.

At least, right now they are a far cry. The team has truckloads of potential waiting to be tapped into and made the most of in the right hands. The almost universal opinion was that Byron Scott did not possess those hands.

The Lakers have a completely different feel and, more importantly, a different outlook now that Walton is in the hot-seat.

He's set about changing the culture of the franchise and shedding the organisation of the disappointment of the past three years, in particular.

The former power forward has had nothing but good things to say since he took the job and he has gone about showering praise on just about every youngster he has.

Clearly, this is Walton's way of helping his young core grow and it is a complete departure from the hard-nosed, disciplinarian style of Scott.

And it's pretty conclusive that Scott's style did not work.

Although Walton has many lessons he can teach his young Lakers from his time with Golden State, he insists his team will be developing their own identity.

“If I’m talking to Julius [Randle] about how I want him to push the ball … then I’ll bring up the way Draymond [Green, Warriors forward] pushes the ball and playmakes out of that power forward spot,” Walton said. “I’ll show him clips of that. Or Brandon [Ingram], if I’m talking one-on-one defensively, I’ll show him clips of Andre [Iguodala] and the way Andre uses his length to give people problems.

“But when we’re doing stuff as a team, I don’t like to use examples from other teams. I like to keep it in-house and talk about our guys and what we can do.”

He's praised D'Angelo Russell for his work in the gym, branded Randle as "phenomenal" at driving the rock up the court and he has reserved some special defensive praise for this year's number two draft pick, Brandon Ingram.

The Lakers first day of training camp was said to be "80 percent" focused on defence, something the team desperately needs to address. Walton says Ingram has taken to his methods with consummate ease.

“You can tell he’s been coached and he’s been … parented correctly,” Walton said. “He’s an incredible person. He competes. He does what you ask of him. He hasn’t complained once since he’s been here all summer.”

Walton is saying all the right things and the Lakers certainly have a better roster all-around than last year.

Will they win more games than 17? Yes. Will they make the playoffs? Almost certainly not. Do they have a bright future under Walton? Definitely.

Shaquille O'Neal
Magic Johnson
Pau Gasol
Chicago Bulls
Central Division
Eastern Conference
L.A. Lakers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
Luol Deng
Miami Heat
Southeast Division
Kobe Bryant

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