Often times the younger generation of millennials feel disconnected from those who proceeded them. Growing up in such a different generation, there aren’t many comparisons or intertwining subjects younger players can connect on with their coaching staff.
That can be viewed as the biggest problem the Los Angeles Lakers faced last season, as former head coach Byron Scott implemented his old-school principles with the young core.
Upon many clashes and conflicts, the franchise elected with a different path, hiring Luke Walton as the head coach. Walton, who begins his rookie campaign at 36 years old, brings in a different mentality for the roster.
Many players, such as D’Angelo Russell, have already stated their pleasure with the signing of Walton.
Even Tarik Black marvels at his new head coach, after signing a two-year deal in the offseason.
The relationship Black has with Walton stems back beyond the NBA when Walton began his coaching journey at the University of Memphis.
Black has fond memories of his first experience with Walton, picking at his knowledge of basketball.
The 36-year-old currently resides as the youngest coach in the NBA, not that far removed from his playing days. The 26th head coach in franchise history voluntarily participates in some scrimmages, demonstrating he still has game.
Black had high praise for his head coach, stating this his basketball IQ and passing abilities have yet to dissipate, via Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report:
“His passing ability…oh, my God,” Black says. “He’s still killing us with straight passes. You know he can’t run and jump with us right now. His back is what it is; he can only do so much. Still…how he shares the ball, it’s amazing.”
For the younger core of the Lakers, coming from the millennial era, learning by doing is often the preferred method. While the younger players want to improve their game, they invite constructive criticism for players and coaches they respect.
Walton, who can demonstrate his philosophies on the court, shows a first-hand demonstration to his players. That, for Black, makes all the difference:
“It shows us what he’s looking for,” Black says. “It’s easier to imitate something than to hear something and try to make it happen. We honestly love it, because how much fun is it to play with your head coach? And talk trash with him.”
These ideals are the reason the Lakers called Walton their best move of the offseason. With a young core anxious to learn from someone they respect, their games will elevate accordingly.
While Walton is stern on integrating his offense, he also cares about his players tremendously:
The Lakers are set to run a moving, selfless style offense under Walton, with the rookies anxious to begin.
While the NBA doesn’t allow head coaches to mandate practices during the summer, Walton has presented a relaxed, learning environment that has the young players repeatedly coming back for more.