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Lakers' Luke Walton to play assistant coach at Memphis during NBA lockout

Here's an idea nobody has thought of yet. Instead of going back to school or playing basketball in Turkey during this annoying NBA lockout that could starve us hoops-heads for God knows how long, Los Angeles Lakers forward Luke Walton has had enough.

Walton was recommended by Memphis Tigers head coach Josh Pastner to become an assistant coach on his staff, a move that will go through barring any disapproval by the Tennessee Board of Regents or the school itself.

Weird, isn't it? Now Pastner's staff is filled with former Arizona Wildcats. He hired Mighty Mouse, former guard Damon Stoudamire, this summer and already had former UA staffer Jack Murphy, the son-in-law of former Arizona AD Jim Livengood, on the Tigers bench.

Per the Memphis athletic department:

"Luke will be a great coach because he brings a wealth of knowledge and a winning attitude to the Tigers program. His experiences, which include playing in four NBA Finals and winning two NBA World Championships, are lessons that he can share with our players to help them grow and develop their games."

What's even weirder about the whole ordeal is the fact that Walton is still on the Lakers payroll for two years.

Granted, it doesn't look like the lockout will end anytime soon 


But Pastner must not feel that it's a big enough risk, nor a bad thing should he lose one set of eyes potentially in the middle of the NCAA basketball season. As he says in the video above, it's a calculated risk of putting an NBA-level player in the throes of competition with his young Memphis squad.

And he also says age isn't a factor. Walton made it to the NBA without the extreme athletic gifts of first-or second-round draft choices, mostly thanks to an IQ paralleled by few. I guess that's what happens when you soak in all the basketball knowledge from Hall of Fame coaches like Lute Olson and Phil Jackson.

Pastner admits to the media that his staff is indeed young. That's his personality; do something different.

And hey, it's worked out pretty well so far. Pastner inherited one of the better basketball schools in the NCAA and continues to excel on the recruiting front

It kind of sounds like Arizona's current head coach, Sean Miller. A young guy himself, Miller's strongest attributes appear to be dealing with young minds and getting the most out of individuals and putting them into content roles on a single unit.

It's the changing culture of college basketball, where relatability can have more importance than old-school, hard-assed coaching.