As the Los Angeles Lakers prepare to move on from the Kobe Bryant era, they are embracing the youth movement. Their roster is headlined by guys like Brandon Ingram, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell, all of whom clock in 24 years old or younger. Laker youthfulness even extends to their first-year head coach, Luke Walton, who, at age 36, instantly becomes the youngest head coach in the entire NBA.
Just three years removed from his final season as a player, Walton, who spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach for the record-setting Golden State Warriors, still has a lot of game left, something the Lakers quickly realized when Walton hopped into a few games of 5-on-5 during practice.
RELATED: New Lakers Center Timofey Mozgov is Working Out With Famous “King Feet of Miami” Footwork Trainer
“His passing ability … oh, my God,” guard Tarik Black told Bleacher Report. “He’s still killing us with straight passes. You know he can’t run and jump with us right now. His back is what it is; he can only do so much. Still . . . how he shares the ball, it’s amazing.”
Clarkson doesn’t quite agree with his teammate’s assessment of Walton’s practice domination, but he doesn’t deny that his new coach can still hoop.
Throughout the off-seaosn, Walton got high praise from his players, not just for his willingness to get after it alongside his guys during practice, but for his ability to relate to his stable of millennials.
“I feel like I know him, you know what I’m sayin’?” Russell said. “I feel like I’ve known him for some years now—and I haven’t.”
The Lakers better not get too buddy-buddy with their new coach, though, or else he’ll be dropping 40 points on their heads at practice and making them run suicides for letting him do it.