The rookie tag naturally made Luke Walton a candidate f…

The rookie tag naturally made Luke Walton a candidate for hazing. So did his father, Bill, the Hall of Fame center that never hesitated sharing his thoughts while holding a microphone. So with Walton entering his rookie season with the 2003-04 season, the Lakers’ veterans in Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Gary Payton and Karl Malone offered them a stern warning in training camp. “They let me know life was going to be hell for me that year because of stuff my dad had said,” Walton said before the Lakers hosted the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday at Staples Center. “It worked out.”
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March 24, 2018 | 5:26 am EDT Update
Think about it. It’s fair to wonder if the Jazz even wanted to win. Put yourself in Dennis Lindsey’s shoes. The Jazz GM has a solid team, a frontline center and an exciting rookie to build around. But he needs another star. The top of the draft looks chock full of them. So maybe, with your team stinking up the joint in January, you sit Gobert a few more weeks and join the race to the bottom. Earlier this week, I asked Jazz coach Quin Snyder if he ever had those conversations. “Never,” Snyder said. “That’s just not how we do things. There was never any kind of suggestion of that. In the larger picture, we’re finding out who we are. This experience right now, having to compete for a spot, there is value in that. Things might happen — you can’t take anything for granted. The result ultimately isn’t the only reflection of where you are. The goal for me is to continue to improve. Not X wins, or how many in a row, but how can we keep getting better. It’s how we started the beginning of the year. It’s how we are now. We aren’t overthinking it.”