With the Los Angeles Lakers on a five-game losing streak, people are searching for unrest—something, anything, that points to a possible change in light of recent struggles.
Nothing’s inherently surprising about this. Such stuff is pretty standard practice under the circumstances. It’s doubly pertinent for the Lakers. They play in a huge market. They have a wide-reaching fanbase. Even when the team isn’t expected to win, people get rattled by losses. Lonzo Ball doesn’t get written off so many times less than 25 games into his career if he doesn’t play in a top-five market. The LeBron James-Paul George coup isn’t in play anywhere else other than Los Angeles. The Lakers are the Lakers—polarizing as hell, and thus a hub for overreaction.
Which brings us to these comments team president Magic Johnson made about head coach Luke Walton and the players to Spectrum SportsNet (h/t Twitter user Ralph Mason):
Magic “We feel Luke is gonna get better. Our coach is young our team is young, we have to have patience. He (Luke) made 2 mistakes during Clippers game. My job is to hold everyone accountable and make them better”
This has a very LaVar Ball, why-even-say-anything-remotely-like-this feel to it.
Perhaps Johnson doesn’t mean to imply that Walton’s seat is warm. I mean, he’s not really doing that. But the accountability inference is weird and opens the door to talk about his job security.
Sure, Walton is only in his second season at the head-coaching helm. And yes, he hasn’t once been given a roster worthy of the postseason-contention talk ingrained into each and every iteration of this squad. But, hell, these are the Lakers. Even when they don’t mean to, even if Magic’s plan wasn’t to incite some sort of debate, they have the ability to make headlines anyway.
(And, for the record, Walton’s job feels pretty secure. Something demonstratively bad would have to happen for him to be canned this season.)