News 'n Views - Apr 2016: Luke Walton gives Lakers fans someone to believe in
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lakersfreak
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 6:06 am    Post subject:

Luke Walton gives Lakers fans someone to believe in
by Gary Kester - lakersoutsiders.com

It has been awhile since the Los Angeles Lakers have managed to establish this level of hope in its fans. The massive, adoring fan base is filled with optimism following the team’s search for a new leader.

The Lakers have not had to worry about finding a leader to be the face of the franchise in nearly two decades, thanks to Kobe Bryant. No matter what question marks they had, they could always turn to Kobe for a sense of direction, until recently. Bryant exited in a way that only he can, riding off into the sunset on the shoulders of another 60-point performance, leaving the franchise he won five NBA championships with searching for someone they can get behind.

On the court, they may still be looking for that player, or they might have found him already. Only time will tell if D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle or Jordan Clarkson are ready to take the torch like so many great players before them. Perhaps it could be from a potential top-three pick in this year’s NBA Draft. There are far more questions than answers when it comes to the players that can lead this franchise back to prominence.

Those questions will have to wait to be answered. But the Lakers didn’t wait to find a leader in a different role. After parting ways with Byron Scott, they set their sights on another player that used to wear a No. 4 purple and gold jersey: Luke Walton.

Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss vowed to conduct an extensive search for the person that would be the 26th coach in franchise history, but they didn’t need to. Walton is their guy, and the Lakers are his team.

According to Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding, one interview that lasted six hours was enough for both parties to be sold on what appears to be a perfect match. But what was it about Walton that sold Kupchak and Buss? His vision for the future of the Lakers.

It was Walton’s vision for the future of Lakers basketball that sold Buss and Kupchak, especially after their struggles to get Byron Scott to embrace new-school NBA styles of play. Walton has seen the benefits of the Warriors’ open-mindedness both on the court with their generous passing and in a uniquely democratic locker room.

Fans have noticed the direction that the NBA has headed in over these past few years, emphasizing ball-movement, floor spacing and three-point shooting, all of which the Lakers were inept at to the nth degree these last two seasons. Despite all the criticism launched their way, Los Angeles had seemingly brushed it aside and failed to grasp the modern age of the league, until now.

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lakersfreak
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 6:08 am    Post subject:

Luke Walton Brings Fresh Start, Hope for Resurgence to Los Angeles Lakers
by Kevin Ding - bleacerreport.com

The Los Angeles Lakers’ magic was in the air again, and it was electric.

For more than six hours Thursday, three men who love the Lakers huddled, bonded and believed that this historically glorious franchise could be restored to its most brilliantly gold sheen if an idealistic, imaginative and charismatic young man took over as its head coach.

Luke Walton wowed Lakers head of basketball operations Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak in that interview—making clear not just how much he wanted the job but how much he has learned about the craft of teaching team basketball since he last played for the Lakers in 2012. So Walton was hired Friday night, the Lakers cutting short a search they’d announced would be extensive, and Walton blowing off four scheduled interviews to be the head coach of NBA teams that didn’t move him emotionally.

It was downright romantic how connected Walton, Buss and Kupchak felt over what Walton could bring to the Lakers—or bring back to the Lakers. All of them believe in the power of the brand, and Lakers management is well aware of how Walton’s faith can validate that feeling in the team's frustrated fans…and perhaps also some skeptical free-agent talents.

Worth noting also is that Walton’s hiring might well serve as solid footing for Phil Jackson to stretch a long leg back toward the West next year. Walton adores his former coach, but the love is probably even stronger the other way—from Jackson toward Walton.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 6:09 am    Post subject:

Luke Walton and the Lakers win the moment, but tall tasks remain
by Baxter Holmes - espn.go.com

Los Angeles Lakers fans haven't celebrated much lately, not with the team setting a franchise record for most losses in each of the past three seasons. Kobe Bryant offered an occasional break from the doom-and-gloom by dishing out a handful of throwback performances in his final season, including an eye-popping 60-point finale, but those alone weren't enough to bury the rotten stench of the team's worst-ever 17-65 record.

Yet Lakers Nation erupted in long-awaited cheers earlier this week when their season-long pleas for head coach Byron Scott to be removed from his post were finally met, and fans erupted again Friday night when the team announced that Luke Walton will replace Scott, becoming the 26th head coach in franchise history.

Walton was a fan favorite when he played nine seasons for the Lakers, winning titles in 2009 and 2010, and he was a fan favorite to replace Scott after Walton led the Golden State Warriors to a 39-4 record -- most notably a 24-0 start -- as the team's interim coach early this season while Steve Kerr was sidelined with health issues.

The Lakers were so sure of Walton that he was the only candidate they interviewed, a source told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne. They had other meetings lined up but canceled them after meeting with Walton on Thursday in Oakland, California.

By hiring Walton, the Lakers accomplished several feats. They're hiring a young, smart, well-regarded, up-and-coming coach from a successful, forward-thinking organization. They're once again bringing back one of their own, as Walton will become the eighth former Lakers player who went on to coach the team. And the fact that the Lakers are bringing in a beloved familiar face -- a Southern California native, no less -- will undoubtedly help them not only win the media conference but establish patience from their fans as Walton tries to steer the team out of the depths of rebuilding.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 6:10 am    Post subject:

5 Reasons Luke Walton Is the Right Head Coach
by Cody Williams - lakeshowlife.com

Five reasons why Luke Walton was the right hire for the Lakers head coaching job

Ever since the start of the 2015-16 NBA regular season, fans of the Los Angeles Lakers had their eyes on Luke Walton as he took over as the interim head coach for the Golden State Warriors while Steve Kerr was out of action recovering from back surgery.

Obviously Walton was coaching the defending champions in the Warriors, but the former Lakers forward managed the system and talent magnificently on his way to a historic undefeated start. While the Lakers were suffering through another start to a season with Byron Scott holding the clipboard on the sideline, the notion of somehow being able to bring Walton in to coach a group of talented young players in Los Angeles for the future seemed enticing.

Now it not just seems enticing, but is a reality for Walton and the Lakers:

On Friday night, the Lakers agreed to hire Luke Walton as their next head coach. It was clear almost immediately after the franchise fired Byron that the Warriors assistant was the team’s first choice to fill the vacancy. Though they had contingency plans in place if they weren’t able to lure Walton away from Golden State, they ended up not needing it.

Walton’s duties with the Lakers won’t begin until after the Warriors’ postseason is over. Given what the fans in Los Angeles have been through as of late, though, they’ll gladly wait for the former forward for the team to take his post once he’s done with his current job.

While the reason to be excited is obvious as Luke Walton isn’t Byron Scott and brings with him newfound hope, it’s also important to note that he’s also the right guy to handle the Lakers job in it’s current state.

Here are the five reasons why Luke Walton is the right hire to be the Lakers next head coach.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 6:12 am    Post subject:

Lakers’ hire of Luke Walton a move L.A. needed to make
by Ben Golliver - www.si.com

There is no perfect first-time head coaching candidate, as the nature of the business is replete with uncontrollable unknowns, but Luke Walton appears to be the coach the Lakers want and the coach they need, regardless of how closely those two designations coincided.

In the most basic biographical terms, Walton appeals to the Lakers’ traditional desires: familiarity, glamour and splash. He’s a recognizable and handsome face, having grown up in southern California and following in the footsteps of his father, Hall of Famer Bill Walton, to play in the Pac-10 and NBA. He’s a well-respected member of the Lakers family, having spent eight-plus years playing for the franchise, winning titles in 2009 and ‘10. And he happens to be a hot commodity, having guided the defending champion Warriors to a record 24–0 start as interim coach during Steve Kerr’s absence following multiple back surgeries.

The Lakers have been all over the map in recent years, struggling to establish a clear vision following the 2013 death of owner Dr. Jerry Buss, but Walton ticks off the simplest boxes on their checklist: The team’s massive fan base will welcome him back with open arms, he arrives with the glory-days gleam of championship rings and Larry O’Brien trophies, and his hiring is sure to dominate national headlines in a way that, say, “Suns ink Earl Watson” simply never will.

But those goals haven’t always served the Lakers well in the post-Phil Jackson years: Mike Brown got his coaching start in southern California at the University of San Diego, Byron Scott was a former Lakers champion and Mike D’Antoni’s arrival generated tons of attention. After the two worst seasons in franchise history, after the end of Kobe Bryant’s two-decade reign, and after a messy end to the season that saw D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young involved in tabloid drama, the Lakers needed more than the same old, same old.

The Lakers needed an injection of winning. They Lakers needed a fresh face to lead what comes next. And the Lakers needed a new personality after Scott’s failed taskmaster approach.

The 36-year-old Walton, whose hire was announced Friday, brings all three to the table. While his coaching career is brief—one year as a college assistant, one year as a D-League development coach for the Lakers’ affiliate, and two years on Kerr’s bench—there’s obviously been plenty of winning. He started picking Jackson’s brain late during his playing career, pitched in as the Warriors won 67 games and the title in Kerr’s first season, and then put together a 39–4 record this season as Kerr recovered. Although Walton’s official coaching record remains 0–0, with his wins and losses credited to Kerr, he did enough to receive votes for the Coach of the Year award (which ultimately went to Kerr).

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 6:13 am    Post subject:

ChefLinda wrote:
Big thanks again to lakersfreak for going above and beyond to bring us these great news threads!


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