It’s been something of a whirlwind for Luke Walton ever since he left the Golden State Warriors bench to venture out on his own as a head coach. After going 39-4 in place of Steve Kerr, who was nursing an ailing back, during the 2015-2016 season, Walton was hired by the Los Angeles Lakers that summer, only to have his tenure somewhat torpedoed by LeBron James’ choosing of his franchise and Magic Johnson’s fraught time as the team’s president.
Walton has quickly landed on his feet, getting swooped up by the Sacramento Kings after the team recently dismissed Dave Joerger, but he’s clearly still bristled by how people talk about his head coaching tenure, both his “failings” in Los Angeles and his success in Golden State.
The latter was brought up at his introductory press conference with Kings, when a reporter asked him about the narrative that anyone could’ve stepped in for Kerr and won 40 games with the type of talent he had on that roster.
“I would love to watch them go in there and coach that group,” Walton said with a smile. “I won a championship with that group and I love them, but I’d love to see some people walk in there and try to do that. What Steve [Kerr] did was absolutely incredible. He took a talented team and got everyone to sacrifice and play for one another.”
While Walton has a lot to prove in Sacramento, his coaching career has certainly been devoid of any credit, both in Golden State and L.A. Walton clearly hasn’t lost sight of that. As for the difficulty in managing the locker room with the Warriors and getting everyone on the same page, this quote seems mighty prescient when looked at after the Game 2 collapse against the Clippers.