Luke WaltonNoah Graham/NBAE/Getty ImagesLuke Walton is off to a storied start as a coach. Can he now add to the storied legacy of the Lakers?

Los Angeles Lakers fans haven't celebrated much lately, not with the team setting a franchise record for most losses in each of the past three seasons. Kobe Bryant offered an occasional break from the doom-and-gloom by dishing out a handful of throwback performances in his final season, including an eye-popping 60-point finale, but those alone weren't enough to bury the rotten stench of the team's worst-ever 17-65 record.

Yet Lakers Nation erupted in long-awaited cheers earlier this week when their season-long pleas for head coach Byron Scott to be removed from his post were finally met, and fans erupted again Friday night when the team announced that Luke Walton will replace Scott, becoming the 26th head coach in franchise history.

Walton was a fan favorite when he played nine seasons for the Lakers, winning titles in 2009 and 2010, and he was a fan favorite to replace Scott after Walton led the Golden State Warriors to a 39-4 record -- most notably a 24-0 start -- as the team's interim coach early this season while Steve Kerr was sidelined with health issues.

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After two of the worst seasons in franchise history, Ramona Shelburne looks at how the Lakers are looking to start fresh with Luke Walton, who knows the Lakers from his playing days.

When he accepted the Los Angeles Lakers' head coaching job Friday, Golden State Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton moved 56 games down the standings.


Luke Walton has agreed to be the Los Angeles Lakers' new head coach, with the sides agreeing to a multiyear deal Friday, the team said. 

Walton spent nine seasons with the Lakers, winning two championship rings as a smart, steady contributor. Three years after his retirement, the 36-year-old Southern California native is back to become the 26th head coach in franchise history.

"I loved everything about my time at Golden State and learning from Steve (Kerr)," Walton told ESPN. "I'll forever be grateful to him, the organization and the team. But I have always dreamed of being a head coach and the chance to do that for an organization like the Lakers doesn't come around very often."

Walton has been serving as an assistant for the Golden State Warriors, who granted him permission to interview with the Lakers after their first-round Western Conference playoff series against the Houston Rockets concluded Wednesday.

A source told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne that Walton was the Lakers' first choice and the only candidate they interviewed. They had other meetings lined up but canceled them after Thursday's interview with Walton in Oakland, California. 

"We're excited to bring Luke back to Los Angeles, where we feel he's going to start an outstanding coaching career," Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a release. "He's one of the brightest young coaching minds in the game, and we feel fortunate that he'll be leading the on-court future of our team."

The 36-year-old had become a hot coaching commodity after ‎posting a 39-4 record -- including a record 24-0 start -- as the Warriors' interim coach this season while Kerr was recovering from complications stemming from two offseason back surgeries. 

"I'm incredibly happy for Luke," Kerr said in a release. "As we witnessed earlier this season, he has all of the intangibles necessary to be an outstanding head coach in this league, including a terrific understanding of the game the ability to communicate with a wide range of people."

Walton finished eighth in coach of the year balloting Tuesday. Sources said he had drawn serious interest from the Sacramento Kings

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In the midst of telling a basketball story, Baron Davis became a basketball story.

A knee injury brought Davis' 13-year NBA career to a halt during a Knicks playoff game in 2012. He had already started shooting footage of the summertime Drew League, a project that intensified as Davis entered retirement. The finished documentary, "The Drew", will premiere on Showtime on Friday night at 8 p.m. in the Eastern and Pacific time zones.

For a while Davis' basketball exploits were limited to some weekend pickup runs. He'd dabble in a few games of H-O-R-S-E. He found the competitive juices were most likely to flow when he played games of Connect Four -- or sometimes when he picked up the controller and played Mario Kart.

But all of that time spent around the Drew League stirred something.

"Being in that environment and not playing?" Davis said.

That didn't sit right.

Something else didn't sit right: the way his career ended. He'd come down from the highs of the "We Believe" Golden State Warriors playoff run in 2007, to shifting among three teams (the Los Angeles Clippers, Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks) in the final four years of his career. He was heckled by then-Clippers owner Donald Sterling when he played in L.A. His beloved grandmother died in 2011 while he was playing for the Cavaliers. The finish wasn't clean. It felt as if there were more to be done.

Davis hired a personal trainer and worked his way back into shape. He showed up regularly to the Sunday runs. He put out the word that he wanted back in.

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Rachel Nichols, Zach Lowe and Raja Bell share their thoughts on Iggy Azalea saving Nick Young from an embarrassing tattoo gaffe.

Robert Horry drills buzzer-beater vs. Kings

When it happened

2002 West finals: Game 4: Kings vs. Lakers

Just six words on six seconds

Big Shot Bob to the rescue. -- Chris Broussard

Robert Horry: Right place, right time. -- Rob Peterson

Kobe knows it's good before anyone. -- Dave McMenamin

That Vlade tap-out haunts Kings fans. - Ian Begley

Closest the Sacto Kings ever got. -- Chris Ramsay

Why Horry drinks free in L.A. -- J.A. Adande

If you want to get involved in the discussion or just follow along, #NBArank is the Twitter hashtag to use. You also can follow along with @ESPNNBA as we count down the top 60 playoff Vines.

No. 8 | Full list

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Derek Fisher needs just 0.4 seconds to sink Spurs

When it happened

2004 West semis: Game 5: Lakers vs. Spurs

Just six words on six seconds

Not Kobe. Not Shaq. Derek Fisher. -- Chris Ramsay

Spurs chased Kobe, Fish sunk them. -- Justin Hagey

Wild finish to a wild game. -- Chris Broussard

Don't say ".4" in San Antonio. -- J.A. Adande

The "Al Michaels does NBA" era. -- Dave McMenamin

Fish. Rim. Fish. Rim. Fishy rim! -- Jim Merritt

If you want to get involved in the discussion or just follow along, #NBArank is the Twitter hashtag to use. You also can follow along with @ESPNNBA as we count down the top 60 playoff Vines.

No. 10 | Full list | No. 8

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Michael Smith and Jemele Hill share their opinions on Bill Walton telling his son, Luke, to avoid the Lakers coaching job if offered to him.

Jalen Rose tells Dan Le Batard that Shaquille O'Neal did a good job leading the Lakers' teams during the 2000s.

Jerry West forces OT with 60-foot heave

When it happened

1970 NBA Finals, Game 3: Knicks vs. Lakers

Just six words on six seconds

That's why he's called Mr. Clutch. -- Chris Broussard

Gotta guard The Logo all 94. -- Chris Ramsay

And it was worth only two. -- Dave McMenamin

Did Wilt Chamberlain get the assist? -- Matt Wong

But they lost the game though. -- J.A. Adande

Only The Logo ... and Steph Curry. -- Royce Webb

If you want to get involved in the discussion or just follow along, #NBArank is the Twitter hashtag to use. You also can follow along with @ESPNNBA as we count down the top 60 playoff Vines.

No. 12 | Full list | No. 10

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Dan Le Batard and Stugotz recap Iggy Azalea stepping in at the last minute to save Nick Young from getting a tattoo on his back with the word "rebel" spelled incorrectly.

Magic Johnson's junior skyhook

When it happened

1987 NBA Finals, Game 4: Lakers vs. Celtics

Just six words on six seconds

Magic channels Kareem to bury Celtics. -- Chris Broussard

"Junior Skyhook" enters the NBA vernacular. -- Chris Ramsay

Magic always found ways to win. -- J.A. Adande

Anyone notice that Kareem was open? -- Brad Doolittle

Magic's most true "hero ball" moment. -- Royce Webb

Magic swish over three Celtics legends. -- Justin Hagey

If you want to get involved in the discussion or just follow along, #NBArank is the Twitter hashtag to use. You also can follow along with @ESPNNBA as we count down the top 60 playoff Vines.

No. 13 | Full list | No. 11

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Mike & Mike explore how much Luke Walton will consider taking the Lakers head coaching position despite the lack of stability throughout the organization.



Kobe Bryant
17.6 2.8 0.9 28.2
ReboundsJ. Randle 10.2
AssistsM. Huertas 3.4
StealsD. Russell 1.2
BlocksR. Hibbert 1.4