The Golden State Warriors are currently focusing on winning a second consecutive championship over the Cleveland Cavaliers, which lead assistant Luke Walton knows will be his last with the club. Once the Warriors season ends, Walton will take the reigns as the new head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, who hold the second overall pick in the NBA Draft as well as a mountain of cap space to use pursuing free agents.
In the meantime, Walton is doing all he can to learn a few more lessons from Warriors head coach Steve Kerr before returning to Los Angeles, where he played for eight and a half seasons.
In a report by Jimmy Durkin of the Mercury News, Walton explained his mindset as the Warriors season draws to a close:
“I’m trying to take everything I can from (Kerr). He’s a great teacher and he’s opened my eyes to the way the game can be taught in many different ways. As a student, you always try to learn from your teachers and he’s just another one of my teachers along the way.”
Walton also has the benefit of learning under Phil Jackson, who was his coach for most of his playing days with the Lakers. While Los Angeles has a pivotal summer ahead of them, Walton says that he is locked in on winning an NBA Championship for the Warriors:
“It’s the NBA Finals. If you can’t stay focused on the NBA Finals, you don’t belong in the league anyways. I’m very focused on what we’re doing here. The players we have and the coaching staff, it’s a lot of fun coming into work … trying to win a championship.”
The Lakers hope that Walton is able to bring the Warriors high-octane offense to their team, which young core players D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, and Julius Randle figure to thrive in. Walton has already reached out to the young trio and discussed how he envisions their roles next season. He has also added former-Laker Brian Shaw to his coaching staff, giving him a steady, veteran mind to lean on.
On paper, Walton is a perfect fit for the Lakers, and the future is looking brighter every day.