Walton with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2008
|Los Angeles Lakers|
March 28, 1980 |
San Diego, California
|Listed height||6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)|
|Listed weight||235 lb (107 kg)|
|High school||University of San Diego HS
(San Diego, California)
|NBA draft||2003 / Round: 2 / Pick: 32nd overall|
|Selected by the Los Angeles Lakers|
|Position||Small forward / Power forward|
|2003-2012||Los Angeles Lakers|
|2014-2016||Golden State Warriors (assistant)|
|2016-present||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Career highlights and awards|
As assistant coach:
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Luke Theodore Walton (born March 28, 1980) is an American professional basketball coach and former player. He currently serves as the head coach for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played 10 seasons in the NBA as a forward, and won two NBA championships with the Lakers and won one with the Golden State Warriors as an assistant coach.
Walton played college basketball with the Arizona Wildcats. He was a second-team All-American and a two-time first-team all-conference selection in the Pac-10. He was selected in the second round of the 2003 NBA draft by the Lakers. After the 2010 NBA Finals, Walton and his father, Hall of Famer Bill Walton, became the first father and son to have both won multiple NBA championships: Bill won in 1977 and 1986, and Luke in 2009 and 2010. His best season statistically was 2006-07 with over 11 points, 5 rebounds, and over 4 assists per game.
As the Warriors' interim head coach in 2015-16, he guided the team to the longest winning streak to open a season in league history.
The son of former UCLA star and NBA Hall-of-Famer Bill Walton, Luke Walton was named after his father's close friend and former Portland Trail Blazers teammate Maurice Lucas. He has three brothers: Adam, Nathan, and Chris. Walton attended University of San Diego High School in San Diego, California, graduating in 1998.
Walton played basketball at the University of Arizona under coach Lute Olson. His best year statistically was as a junior, when he averaged 15.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.6 blocks per game. During his senior year he averaged 10.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 0.9 steals per game.
Walton graduated from Arizona in the spring of 2003 after completing work in family studies and human development.
Walton was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2003 NBA draft with the second pick of the second round (32nd overall). Walton was a favorite of Lakers fans during his nine-year stint as a selfless, hard-working reserve player. He was chosen to represent Team Los Angeles in the Shooting Stars Competition during All-Star Weekend in 2005.
In 2006-07, Walton had his best year in the NBA. He scored a career-high 25 points against the Atlanta Hawks on December 8, 2006. For the season he posted career-high per-game averages in minutes, field goal percentage, steals, blocks, rebounds, assists and points as the Lakers starting small forward. Following the season, on July 12, 2007, Walton was signed by the Lakers to a 6-year, $30 million contract. The Lakers then made three straight runs to the NBA Finals; they lost to the Celtics in 2008, but defeated the Magic in 2009 and Celtics in 2010 to win back-to-back championships. This gave Walton two championships as a player, the same amount his father won.
Walton's first coaching experience was with the University of Memphis, which hired Walton as an assistant coach during the 2011 NBA lockout. He remained an assistant at Memphis until the lockout was over.
The following year Walton became an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors. Said Walton, "We are gonna run parts of the triangle offense, and I know that thing front and back." Walton joined the Warrior staff July 3, 2014. The Warriors won the 2015 NBA Finals after they defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games to give Walton his third NBA championship and first as a coach.
During 2015-16 training camp in October 2015, Walton was appointed as the Warriors interim head coach when Steve Kerr took an indefinite leave of absence to rehabilitate his back that had been bothering him after the NBA Finals. Walton made his coaching debut in the season opener on October 27 in a 111-95 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. Three games later, he presided over the third-largest margin of victory in franchise history when the Warriors defeated the Memphis Grizzlies, 119-69, which was also the largest margin in the league since 1991. The Warriors set a new NBA record by winning their first four games by a total margin of 100 points. With a win over the Los Angeles Lakers on November 24, he guided the Warriors to a 16th consecutive victory to start the season, a new NBA record.
Walton was named the NBA Western Conference Coach of the Month for games played in October and November, after guiding Golden State to a 19-0 start. He received the award despite technically being winless, since the Warriors' record was credited to Kerr. Since Kerr was still the head coach, NBA rules stipulated that the team's record under an interim coach be credited to the head coach, though the league considered altering the rule given Walton's case. However, the NBA permits an interim or acting head coach to be eligible for coaching awards. The Warriors extended their record start to 24-0. They were 39-4, the second-best start in league history, when Kerr resumed coaching full-time on January 22, 2016. Golden State ended the season an NBA-record 73-9, and Kerr was voted the NBA Coach of the Year. The coach had Walton, who coached more games during the season than Kerr (43-39), sit next to him on the podium at the award press conference. Walton finished ninth in the voting, receiving one second-place and two third-place votes.
In his first season with the Lakers, the team improved upon their franchise worst 17-65 record from the previous year, finishing 26-56. During the season, Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss were replaced by Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka. Johnson and Pelinka both spoke highly of Walton and said he would remain the head coach of the team. The Lakers won five of their last six games of the season, bringing some momentum into the off-season.
On his right arm, there is a tattoo of four Grateful Dead-type dancing skeletons, each one with a basketball; the skeletons represent Luke and his three brothers.
In December 2008, a woman named Stacy Elizabeth Beshear pleaded no contest to charges of stalking Walton. At one point, she pulled up to Walton's car and "pretended to fire gunshots at him with her hand." She was sentenced to three years' probation, told to attend weekly counseling sessions for a year and ordered to stay away for three years from Walton's home and from the Lakers' games and practices.
On August 17, 2013, Walton married long-time girlfriend Bre Ladd. The two met at the University of Arizona; she was a standout middleblocker on the university's volleyball team.
|+||Denotes seasons in which Walton won an NBA championship|
|L.A. Lakers||2016-17||82||26||56||.317||4th in Pacific||--||--||--||--||Missed playoffs|
|L.A. Lakers||2017-18||82||35||47||.427||3rd in Pacific||--||--||--||--||Missed playoffs|