The Golden State Warriors are set to begin their second-round matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers this weekend, though on Saturday the focus from reporters wasn’t on how Steve Kerr plans to defend Damian Lillard.
Instead, the spotlight was on Kerr’s lead assistant coach, Luke Walton.
After agreeing to become the next head coach of the Lakers on Friday, the NBA’s media were out in full force to interview Walton for the first time since accepting the job.
Walton obliged, and explained exactly how his new job title came to fruition.
Walton told reporters that it was a “tough decision” to leave Golden State due to the “special” situation they have going on there, though ultimately the 36-year-old couldn’t turn down the chance to return to the franchise where his NBA career began.
“Even before I took this job, I still watched Lakers games and hoped that they succeed and win,” Walton said, who worked as an analyst for Time Warner Cable: SportsNet before taking the job up in Oakland. “It’s kind of nice to be able to go back and try to help rebuild what we used to have there.”
While Walton lead the Warriors to a 39-4 record during Kerr’s absence earlier this season, he knows that he’ll be faced with a tough task to replicate that kind of success with the Lakers’ current roster.
However, Walton sounds excited by the potential of the Lakers’ young players, which isn’t surprising seeing as he swiftly accepted the purple and gold’s job offer.
“I love it. I think they have some good, young, talented players,” Walton said. “Obviously, you need to mix in some good vets with that to not only win but to have players on the court that can help the young players grow. But yeah, I’m excited about the players and the pieces that are there. There’s obviously work to do but they got a nice start.”