It’s not that Luke Walton can’t coach a basketball team but he can’t coach a basketball team unless the decisions and situation is perfect for him. This Los Angeles Lakers squad is far from perfect but they have potential to be very entertaining and successful if their young core is given the chance to succeed. Instead after having won their last 2 games and doing so with flair and a high scoring offense unlike anything this league has seen this decade.
Going into today’s game with Lonzo Ball fresh off his best performance of the season and it being his 21st birthday fans expected Lonzo to start, to which Luke Walton obliged. However, it wasn’t halfway through the first quarter when Luke had already made his first coaching mistake by having Lebron, Lonzo, and Rondo on the court at the same time. It didn’t get better from this point beyond a brief period in which Rondo and Lance Stephenson extended a Lakers lead to 14. Luke decided to keep his star point guard on the bench until 6:25 left on the clock in the second quarter, having kept Lonzo on the bench for nearly 12 minutes disrupting his flow and game.
The Western Conference isn’t a cake walk and with every passing loss the season becomes a bigger challenge. If your going to lose games than Lonzo should be getting all of the minutes anyway, because obviously Rondo’s veteran leadership hasn’t resulted in wins through his 3 games with the team. However, when Rondo was out of the lineup the Lakers went 2-1 and Lonzo played some of his best ball of the season as Luke Walton was forced to play Ball.
Only one game back from a suspension that nearly saved Luke Walton from himself has now put him right back on the hot seat as he played Rondo more minutes than Lonzo in tonight’s game that has again resulted in a loss. The Lakers aren’t showtime with Lebron and the rest of the cast on the court, but what really makes this lineup unique and gives them the potential to be great is how well Lebron and Lozno’s game will actually compliment each other for a full ball game if given the chance.
The Lakers have the chance to be one of the biggest surprises of the season in terms of growth and playoff potential if only given the chance by their own coach. On the chance he does remain the coach, hopefully he will choose to go with a minutes rotation that looks something more like this. ↓↓↓↓↓
Luke Walton’s Minutes by UniqueSports
Lonzo 33-38 minutes
Hart 30-32 minutes
Lebron 32 minutes
Kuzma 29 minutes
McGee 30 minutes
Rondo 10 minutes
Lance 10 minutes
Ingram 21-29 minutes
Williams 10-15 minutes
Caldwell-Pope 10 minutes
Svi 5 minutes
Early in the season i rode the decision off as nothing more than Luke bringing lonzo back slowly from his injury. But enough is enough, his lack of awareness and decision making on his rotations is costing the Lakers ball games. Lonzo may not have performed to the best of his ability tonight, but its harder to perform when your not allowed to get into the same sort of rhythm the coaching staff is gifting to other players.