While Kobe and Derek Fisher were both on the last Lakers team to make the NBA Finals before this season, many people forget that Luke Walton was also on that team that lost in five games to the Pistons. At the time the forward was only a rookie and was merely along for the ride–a point he reiterated during his exit interview today.
According to Walton, this year’s Lakers team had all the ingredients necessary to win a title, making major strides from the team that lost in the First Round to the Phoenix Suns the season prior. As a staple of this seasons much improved bench, Walton said that “it would have been great to deliver a title to L.A.,” referring to this year’s squad as a special team.
However, Luke is looking even more forward to next season when he hopes to return with a clean bill of health after battling injuries throughout the 2007-08 season. “Obviously, numbers wise, it wasn’t nice as I would have liked them to be,” said Walton. Luke said that reduced minutes and the additions of playmakers like Gasol and Fisher also shifted his role.