Luke Walton shares Erik Spoelstra’s advice on coaching LeBron James
Now that the Los Angeles Lakers’ front office has delivered by getting LeBron James, the ball is now in head coach Luke Walton’s court, as he is tasked of steering the team to a significant measure of success. Just making the playoffs won’t cut it for the Lakers’ fanbase. If there’s anything that James’ past teams had thought everyone, it’s that four-time MVP is virtually a ticket to an NBA Finals appearance.
Before Walton recalibrates the team’s playbook in order to fit in the addition of James, he will first have to know how to handle the superstar forward. To that end, Walton was able to jot some notes down, thanks to counsels he got from Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra, per Ramon Shelburne of ESPN.
Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra would tell him that James is going to want to know why the team is doing something, and the key to coaching him is to always keep that discussion open.
Spoelstra, who’s had a ton of experience handling James before, also gave Walton a better picture of what he’s about to get into, saying that today’s James is an enhanced version – at least from an experience perspective.
“He said, ‘First of all, you’re getting a different LeBron,'” Walton said of the conversation with Spoelstra. “‘We [the Heat] got him eight years ago when he hadn’t won a championship.’ But he’s like, ‘Dude, he works extremely hard. He’s so knowledgeable about the game. You gotta always be honest and prepared and ready to work hard. As long as you do those things, the relationship should be fine.'”
Walton and James will have the entire summer and a few months left to get familiarized with each other before the 2018-19 season kicks off.