Ranking all 7 Lakers head coaches since Phil Jackson from "bad" to "scapegoat"

After firing Darvin Ham, the Los Angeles Lakers have now had seven head coaches since Phil Jackson. Which one has been the best, and which one the worst?
Darvin Ham, Los Angeles Lakers
Darvin Ham, Los Angeles Lakers / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages
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No. 6: Luke Walton

Continuing the theme of former Lakers players being hired as head coach, Luke Walton was brought on to run the team in 2016, replacing Byron Scott and being asked to turn the ship around after two moribund seasons.

Walton was a role player alongside Kobe Bryant for the Lakers, drafted in 2003 and playing nine seasons with the franchise, winning championships in 2009 and 2010. The son of Hall of Fame center Bill Walton, Luke never reached the heights his father did, but he did inherit something of his winsome personality and Luke built strong connections in the Lakers organization.

Fast forward 14 years, and Walton was coming off of a 73-win season as an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors. Walton famously took over as acting head coach while Steve Kerr took a leave of absence to rehabillitate a back injury. The Warriors started 24-0 and were 39-4 when Kerr took back over. Walton's success managing the Warriors' stars made him a hot head coaching candidate, and it was his former team that hired him in 2016.

Things did not go well for Walton with the Lakers. Still rebuilding the roster after the retirement of Kobe Bryant, the Lakers won just 26 games in his first season, then 35 the following year. His third season was marked by the addition of LeBron James in free agency, but between LeBron missing time due to injury and the lack of a contending roster around him, Walton oversaw the first LeBron team to miss the playoffs in over a decade. He and the team "mutually parted ways" after the 2018-19 season.

Walton had a lot of things working against him as the head coach of the Lakers, from a front office marked by in-fighting to a roster divided between raw youth and washed veterans. If he had gone from the Lakers to his next stop, the Sacramento Kings, and found success his tenure with the Lakers would be looked at differently. Since he was a disaster in Sacramento as well, it looks like he was at least a large part of the problem in Los Angeles.

In three seasons, Walton went 98-148, just a .398 winning percentage, and missed the playoffs all three times.