Cavaliers‘ assistant coach Luke Walton is no stranger to an NBA bench.
His dad, Bill Walton, is a basketball legend, named to the NBA’s 50th and recent 75th-anniversary teams.
And after stints coaching for the Golden State Warriors under Steve Kerr, the Los Angeles Lakers, and Sacramento Kings, Walton has brought his veritable coaching talent to The Land.
On May 31, Walton agreed to join head coach J.B. Bickerstaff’s staff as an assistant.
And this isn’t Walton’s first rodeo in Cleveland; he played for the Cavs from 2012 to 2013 after nine years with the Lakers.
Recently, Walton sat down with Kelsey Russo of The Athletic to discuss his decision to join the Cavs’ coaching staff this offseason.
Youth and Experience
Walton first discussed his relationship with Bickerstaff, which goes back some time.
Bickerstaff and Walton trained together while the latter was a Laker, which led to a strong friendship and respect between the two.
University of Arizona legend Luke Walton repping the Wildcats (@ArizonaMBB) at #NBASummerLeague as he watches his #Cavaliers team. pic.twitter.com/itP2DeTG8j
— Ian Sacks (@ianrsacks) July 13, 2022
Walton also opened up about his views on the Cavs’ rebuilding process, going from lottery team to playoff contender:
“I think that when you draft the right players, and you bring in a guy here and there that complement each other well, and then you can grow that group together like that’s where you can really build something special. There’s only a couple of ways to win at the highest level in this league. You either go get the most elite players out there in trades and free agencies, or you build a young group together. That’s the path that the Cavs are on.”
He’s clearly followed the Cavs’ moves since LeBron James left in 2018.
Since then, the Cavs have done an excellent job bringing in All-Star caliber talent and being patient with players’ development.
Worried about the Cavs’ below-average offense last season?
Fear not, for Walton and the coaching staff are busy working on ways to beef up the scoring and shooting:
“[W]here we can make the biggest jump is on the offensive end. So really just brainstorming ways that we can continue to get better and execute. When you have young teams, young core like what we have here, a lot of it is the time together and understanding so you can keep building on the next level of what you’re running.”
If the Cavs succeed, Walton will likely have no shortage of future coaching opportunities in the NBA.
In fact, the NBA is loaded with assistant coaching talent.
And several of those talents landed head coaching gigs this offseason.
The Lakers hired Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham, the Sacramento Kings brought in Warriors assistant Mike Brown, and the Utah Jazz worked out a deal for Boston Celtics assistant Will Hardy.
And Kenny Atkinson, another Warriors assistant, turned down the Charlotte Hornets head coaching job, preferring a role on Steve Kerr’s bench.
Three weeks ago today ✨#LetEmKnow | @youngoch pic.twitter.com/GRMkWORdvA
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) July 14, 2022
In some cases, the assistant coaches play an even more significant role in game planning than the head coach.
In hiring Walton, it’s a sign that the Cavs are with the times, adding talented coaches under Bickerstaff, who had an excellent first season in charge.
For Walton, the decision to come to Cleveland “was an easy decision” for him.
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