The 2003 NBA Draft was headlined by LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Carmelo Anthony. Cleveland Cavaliers assistant head coach Luke Walton was also part of the batch and had great pride in it. So much so that he mentioned himself in the same sentence as the GOATS of the decorated draft class.
2003 NBA Draft Class
Walton was the 32nd pick in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. He wasn't a highly-touted prospect. Most people knew of him because of his dad, two-time NBA Champion and former NBA Finals MVP Bill Walton.
In 2018, when Walton was the head coach of the Lakers, a reporter asked for his thoughts on what it felt like to be part of such an illustrious draft class. Walton took the opportunity to show off his sense of humor.
"I feel a lot of pride. I feel like I brought a lot to the table as far as being one of the top draft classes of all time. I mean, guys like LeBron and D-Wade and Bosh and Walton … We really did our thing," Walton said.
Born to ball
While Walton was joking, a quick look at his resume would reveal his fruitful NBA career. In his first season with the Lakers, he made his NBA Finals debut against the Detroit Pistons. He played just 7.9 minutes per contest, which is still pretty significant, given that he was a rookie. Most young guns never step foot in the NBA Finals.
Walton was a member of the Lakers team that won back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010. He's the type of player you judge not according to his numbers but by the way, he played the game. Besides, you don't become teammates with Kobe Bryant for almost a decade if you don't know how to play the game.
After his playing career, Walton became an assistant coach for the Warriors. In the 2015-16 NBA season, Walton was appointed interim head coach after Steve Kerr took an indefinite leave of absence. Under Walton's watch, the Warriors were 39–4. The Warriors finished with a 73-9 record, the best in the history of the NBA.
While Walton was joking, we had to take the man seriously. He has a pretty beefy resume, both as a player and a coach. Walton deserves to be mentioned in the same sentence as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Bosh. He's part of the GOATs of the 2003 NBA Draft Class.