Report: Luke Walton doesn’t call plays when LeBron James runs the point
Luke Walton is learning to adapt to the unique challenges inherent to coaching a team that boasts LeBron James on the roster.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reports scouts have noticed that the Los Angeles Lakers head coach cedes control of calling plays whenever James is running the point.
It’s also noted that even when Walton occasionally does call a play when James takes the ball up the court, the superstar often ignores it and runs a different one more to his liking.
The notion that James assumes control of the offense when he’s running the show on the court — and perhaps even when he’s not — should hardly come as surprise. James has been doing as much of his career. Just ask David Blatt, Tyronn Lue and even Erik Spoelstra from back in superstar’s Miami Heat days.
Windhorst notes in his piece that while Walton allows James to essentially be a player-coach in many situations, it “probably shouldn’t be considered a slight — it’s just James being James.”
The Lakers, as James has become more comfortable with his new surroundings and teammates, have started to right the ship to some extent. Despite dropping two straight games — including Tuesday’s ugly 117-85 blowout loss on the road to the Denver Nuggets — the Lakers nevertheless have won seven of 10 games. The team’s 11-9 record has them sitting as the seventh seed in the bunched-up Western Conference.
Given how Walton reportedly was “admonished” by Magic Johnson earlier this month over the team’s slow start — calling into question his job security — the fact the Lakers are on the way to turning things around arguably is all the motivation the coach needs to reconcile himself with the situation.