photo by Charmeljun Gallardo
Isn't it odd on this Election Day that when a coach gets a "vote of confidence," it usually means the opposite?
At the beginning of the season, both Lakers' President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and LeBron James stressed patience. There was no concert-like atmosphere when James reported to camp. The Lakers made plenty of roster moves, but none of them could be deemed earth-shattering. This past summer was supposed to be just the first step of the rebuild. But after a 4-6 start to the season, it appears that the Lakers have changed course midstream. According to reports, Magic Johnson chastised Luke Walton about the offense and anything else he could find.
"I said it, Luke took it and we’re all good," Johnson told The Los Angeles Times. "It’s no big deal."
I know that Walton wasn't Johnson's choice. He wasn't GM Rob Pelinka's choice either. LeBron James has a brilliant basketball mind and is highly intelligent, but he doesn't plug himself into a system. And that's made him difficult player to coach. So I doubt that Walton was his choice. But Walton was Lakers' owner Jeannie Buss' choice and he deserves the opportunity to sort this team out.
If Magic Johnson was just letting off steam as he's indicated, then he needs to let Luke Walton coach the team. Signing James was a no-brainer. But I felt that veterans like Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson weren't going to mentor Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball as much as they were going to take playing time away. But I too will stress patience. It will be up to Walton to blend the younger players with the older veterans. So let him implement the system that he learned from Steve Kerr in Golden State. Let him impart the philosophy he learned as a player under Phil Jackson. Let's continue to see what Walton can do with what he has.
Because after all, it wasn't Walton who built this roster, or made these signings, or missed out on signing other star players, was it?