In the long expanse of time, things can change, events or accomplishments that look stunningly bright and successful can dim over time as circumstances change and more data is accumulated.
Such a case can be made about current Lakers head coach Luke Walton.
For years we suffered through a panoply of what seemed abysmal, desultory coaches who didn't seem either to be able to relate to the players, create a system that matched their talents or just seemed downright bad.
You know the names: Scott, D'Antoni, Brown.
A little over a year ago Luke Walton was an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors. He was just another of dozens of nameless, faceless assistants plying their trade, hoping somehow to build a reputation and get noticed. The only thing that set him apart from the pack was his father was all time NBA great Bill Walton.
Then the best thing that ever happened to him occurred, head coach Steve Kerr suffered health problems that precipitated him missing a huge chunk of the season and elevated Walton to interim head coach.
You all know what happened next, Walton's Warriors went on such a great run that Luke did separate himself from the faceless, nameless pack and became the hot head coaching prospect in the league. Or at least right with a small handful of choice.
This was the fulcrum that elevated him into the big chair with the Lakers shortly thereafter.
And at the time, it seemed like what he did with the Warriors was a very good indicator indeed, right? I mean how many games in row did he win? It was like Kerr never left the bench.
But as I said at the start, time has a way of shifting events and changing perspectives.
This year, in the playoffs, Steve Kerr again has suffered health problems. But unlike last year, it's not Luke Walton taking the big chair there, but our old friend, Mike Brown, a coach we wanted run out of town and who has been fired more than once.
And what happened? The exact same results that Luke got last year. The Warriors are undefeated under Brown and look like the exact same team they were under Kerr.......and Walton.
So did Mike Brown suddenly become a good or great coach? Or is it more likely that Golden State is just so good, so talented, with such great players and an ingrained system that any coach with at least a rudimentary understanding of the NBA can take the helm and win, win, win?
When you look at it, Kerr looks like Brown, who looks like Walton, who looks like Kerr, as long as they have that marvelous machine under their hand.
Luke Walton proved nothing until he coached the Warriors. He had no resume like say Brad Stevens, who took a nothing college and through his recruiting ability and tactical and strategic acumen and superb knowledge of the game made Butler a powerhouse and NCAA finalist. And who followed that up by getting a pretty average Celtics team to the playoffs in his second year. Steven's has established and proven his reputation over and over, again this year by having the best record in the east.
When compared to that, Walton's resume is bare, empty, has nothing.....except doing what Kerr and Brown have done, coaching the best team in the league to wins. If it wasn't for that lucky chance, Walton would still be just another guy hoping for a chance with nothing to say he could succeed if he got it.
And since Mike Brown is just kicking teams around with the Warriors, would we want him back here as Lakers coach if say Luke Walton resigned for some reason tomorrow?
Of course we wouldn't. And there lies the point and the new reality of Walton's "success" with the Warriors. Because three coaches, Kerr, Walton and the oft failed Brown, seemed to get the same results with that tremendous team, how can one trust that Luke's big accomplishment was really anything at all?
This is not to say Walton is not a good coach or that he will be a bad one, what he is will be born out in the next expanse of time. But time and events have cast a reasonable shadow over the major selling point that has taken him to where he is now.