Former Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton will make his first appearance in Oracle Arena tonight since jumping ship to the Los Angeles Lakers.
He’ll be without one of the reasons his team has been so exciting this year, though, as point guard D’Angelo Russell was ruled out on Tuesday. The Lake Show will also be playing on the second night of a back-to-back, which doesn’t bode well for their chances of repeating their blowout of the Dubs from earlier this month.
On the other side, Golden State will be rested and in the midst of an eight-game winning streak that started after the last time the two teams played.
Walton has instilled hope in Southern California through the early part of the season. He’s turned Julius Randle, whose status for tonight is up in the air, into a threat to record a triple double and has liberated the several free-shooting guards on the team to take the shots they want in rhythym.
As a result, Randle’s assists per game averages are up by more than two. Meanwhile, Nick Young and Lou Williams are having resurgent seasons that could prove beneficial to extending their respective careers.
Expect Walton to be treated like Andrew Bogut, Harrison Barnes and Leandro Barbosa before him and receive a hearty applause from the crowd for his role in bringing another NBA title to the Bay Area.