Luke Walton confirmed during his exit interview that he was happy with his team and how they played during his first official season as a head coach.
The Lakers closed out the year with their longest win streak since 2012, winning five consecutive games right at the end of the season before a season ending loss against the Golden State Warriors.
Even though it was the end of the season, Walton claimed it didn’t feel like the end to him. He felt like it was going to be a loss for his men against the Warriors, but wasn’t at all disappointed. Walton said that coming into this job, he knew that it wasn’t going to be a one year turnaround. He knew that they most likely wouldn’t make the playoffs this year, but had different goals anyway.
My team had totally different goals than Golden State this season. We needed to improve a lot of the smaller things first like passing and defense, whereas the Warriors were 100% ready for the playoffs this season.
Walton doesn’t have much experience with losing at the rate the Lakers did this year. He jokingly said that if you didn’t have patience, you would lose your mind at the losses.
Having played for the Lakers from 2003 until he was traded to the Cavs in 2012, he knew that the first few seasons would be more about rebuilding the team and franchise than winning titles.
Despite the game ending in a defeat for the Lakers, Walton walked onto the court with his head held high. He went across and hugged all the Warriors staff and then laughed and smiled his whole way through to the exit interviews.