It’s unsurprising to know that Steve Kerr is pretty high on his former lead assistant, Luke Walton, and his ability to be a top head coach in the NBA. Walton has had one of the toughest jobs in the NBA this season. He’s had to navigate not only a high stress job like the Lakers, but he’s had to do so with LeBron James in town. When you have James then you have the expectations to compete for a title. Anything less is considered a failure of a season.
In Walton’s defense, the roster he’s been given to try and compete with would be one of the hardest jobs in the NBA for any coach. James is an otherworldly talent, but surrounding him are mediocre veterans and young players that still need time to grow. Especially in a crowded Western Conference. And with James out injured the Lakers have, of course, plummeted.
It’s pretty unfair to expect Walton to make the Lakers a dominant force in the league and not give him the tools to do so. That he’s gotten as much out of it as he has could be considered a plus in his coaching and that’s what Kerr has seen. He sees a coach that’s navigated one of the hardest jobs in the league and done so well.
“I know him so well. He’s cut out for this. He has the perfect temperament to deal with the ups and downs of the NBA season and the drama that goes on. I think he’s doing a great job with all the injuries they’ve had. I think they’re probably where they’re supposed to be. As they get healthy we’ll know how good they can be.”
Kerr is always going to stick up for Walton, because Walton was someone that coached under him during the Warriors early title run. He took over for Kerr during the season they won 73 games while Kerr had to sit out from medical issues. He’s obviously going to support him, but his words shouldn’t be taken as just someone standing up for his guy.
And he’s not wrong. Walton has done a, for the most part, good job navigating everything taking place in Los Angeles. Worse coaches would have failed far more by now. Walton is getting more out of his defense than should be expected and, while the offense has problems, it’s far better with LeBron James in the lineup. Walton deserves time and better players to make this all work, but will the Lakers give him that?