Breaking Down Walton

Since joining the Lakers more than four years ago, Luke Walton has emerged as one of the team’s most reliable role players, proving himself the perfect complement to whatever unit he plays with. Specifically, Walton’s game is noted for the following:

Passing: Walton is an expert passer, known for making the “right” pass at the perfect moment, but is also capable of dishing out highlight-level passes as evidenced in his under-the-leg assists from earlier in the season. Luke’s outstanding passing game is tied into his uncanny ability to see the floor from all angles, allowing him to find open teammates with ease.

Click here to watch clips of Luke
demonstrating these abilities.
Basketball Knowledge: Walton obviously hails from a pretty impressive gene pool and it certainly shows in his innate knowledge of the game. Even as a rookie, Luke quickly gained Coach Jackson’s trust by displaying a true awareness on the court, easily picking up the triangle offense and running it to perfection almost immediately. Even as a player with some athletic limitations, Walton’s basketball prowess makes him an invaluable part of the Lakers.

Decision-making: Walton is a player that understands his strengths intimately and rarely goes outside the confines of his game when on the floor. As a result, Luke is an excellent decision-maker, making him especially useful as another floor general for the Lakers. Whether he is passing the ball or creating his own shot, Walton rarely strays from the overall goals of the team on a given night.

Gamesmanship: When the Lakers needed Walton the most at the start of last season with Lamar Odom out with an injury, Luke was up to the challenge. In fact, for much of the 2006-07 season, Walton was arguably the Lakers’ second best player on the floor, complementing Kobe on offense with a newly expanded offensive repertoire that garnered him Most Improved Player buzz around the league.

Post-up Game: Although Walton’s outside shooting has improved by leaps and bounds in recent years, the majority of his go-to moves on offense revolve around his carefully crafted post-up game. At 6’8,” Luke has more than enough height and bulk on his frame to muscle down against some of the league’s bigger forwards, allowing him to back down opponents before utilizing his soft touch from about 12 feet in.

Intangibles: Throughout Luke’s tenure in L.A., both Jackson and teammates have praised Luke for the intangibles he brings to the game. Whether the team needed a defensive stop or energy on offense, Walton has been a true glue guy since joining the Lakers. While most of his teammates have defined roles on this year’s squad, Walton often finds himself switching between playing with the starting unit and a reserve role. Regardless of when he makes entrance or whom it is with, Luke is constantly making the game easier for his teammates in one way or another.