Lakers greatest role players: 8. Luke Walton
The Lakers drafted Walton in the second round in 2003. He is the son of Hall of Famer Bill Walton, and the 6’8 forward was a rookie on the team that reached the NBA Finals in 2004.
Walton was rarely a starter, but he stuck in LA for eight and half seasons and was part of two championship teams. Walton had ten points, three assists, one steal, and one block as he helped the Lakers blowout the Nuggets in the deciding Game 6 of the 2009 Western Conference Finals.
Walton was a starter on the 2006-2007 Lakers in what would be the best season of his career. He averaged 11.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.0 steal in 33.0 minutes per game. The 6’8 forward shot 47.4 percent from the field and 37.8 percent on his threes. Walton was a below-average 3-point shooter for his career that averaged just 4.7 points per game, but he helped the Lakers reach the playoffs in 2007 on the back of his best year.
Walton may be better known for his infamous three-year run as the Lakers’ head coach where they won just 98 of 246 games and failed to make the playoffs in what was part of the longest postseason drought in franchise history.
Still, he was a key role player in LA during the Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol era, and nobody should forget his contributions during his eight-plus seasons with the Lakers.