I am a Knicks fan, which means that it’s my job to do three things: hate the Lakers, hate the Celtics, and complain about the Knicks. Right now, though, I’m finding it very hard to hate the Lakers. They’re just so damn likable. I love the fire that Julius Randle plays with, Swaggy P has his swagger back, Metta World Peace is back on the team, and they yell “I love basketball” coming out of huddles. But probably the biggest upswing in their likeability is their head coach Luke Walton, the guy I wanted no part of in New York City.
Truthfully I don’t think that Luke Walton in New York would have been a good fit (Hornacek was the best option by far), but it’s clear that he’s working out in LA for the Lakers. The guy can gel with the young players, they love his enthusiasm, and he’s apparently a good coach.
You know what young players want? They want a guy who’s been there before. They want a guy who would go to war with them. And that’s exactly what Luke Walton did last night against the Sacramento Kings, in the fifth minute of the game. But first, a little context.
If you follow the NBA, you know that Boogie Cousins is, well, Boogie. He likes to start stuff. At the same time, Julius Randle isn’t the kind of person to back down. In fact, the two forwards have gone at it multiple times before. So what does Cousins do to strike first? This.
And Randle got called for a technical foul. Which is absurd. Ridiculous. Flabbergasting, really. So Luke Walton got pissed off and tried to have a word with the refs. But that wasn’t happening. Instead, he got a technical foul. And then another technical foul. And was ejected from the game.
What I love about this the most is that Luke seems like he’s still a player. He’s out there cussing at the refs well after he’s been ejected and asked to leave. He’s calling out Demarcus Cousins. And the best part is that he took his blazer off like it was a jersey, like he was about to throw it into the crowd, just pissed off.
That’s the kind of coach that players want.