Magic Johnson to Luke Walton: Don't worry if we get out to a bad start

Yahoo Sports
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/teams/lal" data-ylk="slk:Lakers">Lakers</a> president Magic Johnson isn’t worried about the Lakers getting off to a slow start this season with <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/3704/" data-ylk="slk:LeBron James">LeBron James</a> — and he doesn’t want head coach Luke Walton to worry, either. (Getty Images)
Lakers president Magic Johnson isn’t worried about the Lakers getting off to a slow start this season with LeBron James — and he doesn’t want head coach Luke Walton to worry, either. (Getty Images)

Expectations are sky high surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers ever since LeBron James signed with the team this summer.

If things don’t go as planned and the Lakers don’t start winning instantly, though, fans could get upset fast.

That happened when James first went to Miami. The Heat started 9-18 that season, and many Heat fans were calling for coach Erik Spoelstra to be fired. It happened again when James went back to the Cavaliers — who started 19-20 that season, almost instantly putting then-coach David Blatt on the hot seat.

If history repeats itself a third time in Los Angeles, and the Lakers struggle early this fall, president Magic Johnson isn’t worried — and he doesn’t want head coach Luke Walton to be, either.

“As I was talking to Luke, we said don’t worry about if we get out to a bad start,” Johnson told ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk on Thursday. “We have seen that with LeBron going to Miami, and we have seen that when he came back to Cleveland. He is going to struggle because there are so many new moving parts. But eventually we are going to get it, and we are going to be really a good team.”

While fans may get upset — and could even start calling for Walton’s job if the Lakers struggle early on, Johnson has made it clear he believes in his third-year head coach.

And while having a loaded team — especially one with a talent like James — can be a challenge to manage, Johnson isn’t concerned. He thinks that’s perfect for Walton.

“We’re excited for Luke and his coaching staff. I think that Luke has been working very hard to figure out how to utilize all the pieces,” Johnson told ESPN. “Luke’s a winner. He’s been a winner as a player, he’s a winner up at Golden State. He’ll be a winner here too.

“People think it’s a problem when you have a lot of talent. No, we want a lot of talent. I think a coach wants a lot of talent. He’ll know how to put them in a winning position.”

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