One of the biggest ongoing storylines with the Los Angeles Lakers this season has been consistent speculation that head coach Luke Walton is on the hot seat. Of late, Walton’s job security has seemingly come into question after nearly every loss.
Despite this, and some of the team’s most obvious struggles, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, president of basketball operations Magic Johnson, and especially owner Jeanie Buss, have all come to Walton’s defense time and time again.
In addition to the front office, numerous Lakers players have reiterated their confidence in Walton, with Rajon Rondo recently joining the group. Crediting his competitiveness, Rondo said he believes that with all Walton has to deal with, he’s doing a great job as head coach, via Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:
“He’s competitive as hell, but I think the way he’s handling this year, I don’t know if I could do a better job,” Rondo told ESPN. “It’s tough: He’s having to teach at the same time as he’s trying to get wins, managing egos, and dealing with vets and leadership.”
It is extremely plausible that Walton has the hardest job in the NBA right now. He’s the head coach of the most-recognizable and success-hungry franchise, with a bevy of young players who are yet to reach their highest potential.
And above all else, he’s needed to cultivate a relationship with LeBron James, who notoriously has a reputation of spelling doom for coaches.
With all of this going on, Walton has done fairly well. As a well-known defensive minded head coach, Walton led the Lakers to as high as the NBA’s sixth-best defensive rating. Where Walton and the team have consistently struggled is on offense.
But their biggest pitfall this season has been the rash of injuries. It is perhaps with that, Walton would appear to be secure in his position for at least the remainder of the season.
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