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Luke Walton will be joining J.B. Bickerstaff’s Cleveland Cavaliers staff as an assistant coach.
Walton is best known for his playing career, as well as his coaching career, in Los Angeles. He may be the son of basketball legend Bill Walton, but he has decided his next basketball career will be from the bench, as opposed to in the booth and changing lives from there. Either way, Walton returns to Cleveland where he spent the final two seasons of his playing career out of Arizona.
Could this be the under-the-radar move that helps get the Cavaliers back into the NBA playoffs?
Cleveland Cavaliers add Luke Walton to the bench as an assistant coach
Admittedly, the Cavaliers are close. They were one win away from getting out of the play-in tournament and into the Eastern Conference Playoffs. While they were no match for the Brooklyn Nets and then the Atlanta Hawks during their two play-in tournament games, there is a growing belief that the Cavs are a team here to stay. This team is young and exciting, but in need of a lift.
Not to say Walton will be the perfect pick-me-up on their bench, but he does have five-plus years of NBA head-coaching experience on his side. No doubt about it, this is Bickerstaff’s team, but keep in mind that Walton was one of the top assistant coaches in the game on Steve Kerr’s Golden State Warriors staff before taking over his former club. Walton has a ton of experience on his side.
Given how much better this past year’s Cavs team was over more recent ones, a playoff berth is the expectation for this current core. Once they get to the playoffs, we will see what they are all about and if they can win a series or two. However, it is all about getting a top-six seed to avoid the play-in tournament all together. If they have to play in it again, they are now battle-tested.
Adding Walton to the Cavaliers bench is a great pickup made by Cleveland already this offseason.