When Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton took his current job at the helm of the team he used to play for, he wasn’t just charged with piloting them back to greatness. He was also tasked with helping a very young roster of talented players develop the type of professionalism and habits to allow them to have long, successful careers.
So far, Walton seems to be doing just that. Every young player on the roster has either made massive strides forward under his direction (Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram) or surprised with how good they were right off of the bat (Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart).
Walton doesn’t get all of the credit for that, of course. A ton of it has to go to the players on the team as well, but he does deserve some credit for it. He also deserves credit for helping a young, overhauled roster go from last in the league in defensive efficiency into an outfit that has flirted with the top-10 all year.
And from the sound of things, Walton isn’t just focusing on developing players’ on-the-court habits. He also wants them to be set up to be professionals away from the hardwood.
According to the latest report from Candace Buckner of the Washington Post, that includes what players do during meetings and film sessions:
Coach Luke Walton has not banned phones from the Los Angeles Lakers’ breakfast meetings or film-room sessions, but if a player’s device rings, he can expect to pay a small fine.
This practice makes sense from Walton for a few reasons. For one, this is just basic etiquette in any situation, and the young Lakers might still need to learn that.
Additionally, if the Lakers are going to reach their full potential, they need to be paying attention to film sessions where they can learn what to do and what not to do. Based on results, it appears Walton is getting them to do that, on fine at a time.