The minute LeBron James announced he was joining the Lakers, everything changed. Sure, everyone said all the right things at first, about how this young and talented team would need time to grown and adapt and learn from their mistakes. Patience would be a major virtue, and expectations would have to be tempered.
Of course, all of that went out the window once the Lakers started losing games, and it didn’t take long before team president Magic Johnson summoned head coach Luke Walton into his office for a dressing down. Johnson reportedly made it clear that he wasn’t happy with where things were headed and implored him to “right the ship.”
But once the media caught wind of this, Johnson went into damage control mode and apologized for his outburst and assured everyone that Walton had his full support. That, however, did little to slow the speculation about Walton’s future with the organization.
Still, Walton has support among many of his colleagues around the NBA, including Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who told reporters that he believes Walton is the right person for the job ahead of their home stand against the Lakers on Sunday.
Spoelstra, of course, knows a thing or two about being a young and somewhat untested coach thrust into a pressure-cooker scenario involving LeBron James and the myriad expectations and scrutiny that accompany him. There was widespread skepticism that he was too inexperienced to be the steward of the Big 3 era in Miami.
That was admittedly a very different scenario from the one Walton currently faces in Los Angeles, but all the same, Walton could certainly learn from Spoelstra’s playbook for how to handle the criticism and doubt regarding his qualifications to coach a LeBron-led team.