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Spurs’ Gregg Popovich latest to come to defense of Lakers’ Luke Walton

By in Press Enterprise on January 12, 2018

By Bill Oram

LOS ANGELES — Several prominent NBA coaches voiced support for Lakers head coach Luke Walton this week, but none spoke as forcefully against his chief antagonist, LaVar Ball, as Gregg Popovich did on Thursday.

“I think the first thing to look at is the substance and gravitas of the source that speaks,” Popovich said before his Spurs faced the Lakers. “And just stopping at that point would tell you you don’t need to listen or go any further. It’s just another fan in the peanut gallery with an opinion, which is meaningless.”

Popovich’s dismissal of Ball came in response to a question about recent comments from the father of Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball that Walton had lost the support of Lakers players.

Even if that were true, the second-year Lakers coach certainly has the support of Popovich, the dean of NBA coaches. In his 22nd season at the helm for the Spurs, Popovich pointed to Walton’s pedigree as the son of Hall of Famer Bill Walton.

“Luke has been schooled in this game since he was a little kid,” Popovich said. “He doesn’t even know what he knows probably, just by osmosis. Whether it was living at home or in school as a player, he’s had tremendous experience.

“As a player he wasn’t the best athlete in the world, but those are the guys that sometimes understand the game better, it comes a little tougher. They understand what wins and loses, what they have to do to get an advantage, and really understand the game. Which he does.”

He added that Walton “inherently understands the game.”

Popovich joined a chorus of coaches who spoke out in the aftermath of LaVar’s comments to ESPN. The Dallas Mavericks’ Rick Carlisle and the Detroit Pistons’ Stan Van Gundy lambasted ESPN, while Walton’s former boss in Golden State, Steve Kerr, […]    

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