Fifth Annual Luke Walton All-stars are the glue players of the NBA
Joyce Park stashed this in The Sporting Life
Luke Walton was one of the most successful (and maybe the very most lucky) assistant coaches in NBA history, helming almost the first half of the Golden State Warriors post-championship season while Steve Kerr was out. But before that, he was the namesake of the hard-core basketball-heads-only Luke Walton All-Stars for glue players. Is it a compliment or an insult? You decide.
It's an honor! Luke Walton is the Glue Guy who holds a team together.
Luke Walton was just a number -- injured salary cap fodder the Los Angeles Lakers sent to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2012 to snag Ramon Sessions. Walton had logged just 65 minutes that season in L.A., and back injuries had sidelined him for most of the two prior seasons.
He was done.
Then out of nowhere, he found magic on the Cavaliers' second unit with Shaun Livingston, another broken body Cleveland scooped up after Washington waived him. In practices, they discovered such potent give-and-go synergy that Byron Scott, the coach of those sad-sack post-LeBron Cavs, started calling plays for them.
"I have such fond memories of that time," said Walton, who now coaches Livingston and Marreese Speights -- another member of that Cavs bench mob -- in Golden State. "It was a great way to end my career after all the back injuries. We all still laugh about it. The game was fun again."
And thus was born the Luke Walton All-Stars, our annual roster of journeymen and role players thriving in unexpected ways. One or two players have bristled at earning Walton status, but it is meant to be an honor. Not everyone can be a star. A Walton is a shape-shifter who tailors his game to fit the context of a particular team, and revels in the grunt work. He makes everyone's life easier.