Go into this upcoming season with an open mind and you won’t be disappointed.
Throughout the last three seasons, the Lakers have been riddled with injuries and questionable coaching decisions. They have been ridiculed during their time at the bottom of the league. With 65 wins out of 246 games, the Lakers have been in their darkest days of their historically great franchise.
That is going to change. It will, but (In my best DJ Khaled voice) patience is a major key. Change won’t come overnight, as we’ve seen over the last three seasons. And it will continue to be an uphill battle. But the Lakers are on that uphill road with Luke Walton behind the wheel, not on the downhill skid with Byron Scott not braking for anybody.
65 wins in 246 tries is abysmal – the rock bottom for the Purple and Gold. But we shouldn’t be looking at the win total next year. Not because it will be low in all likelihood; but this year, quality of play will tell much more about this team than wins will.
Walton’s likability and modern coaching style will better allow him to tap into each player’s outstanding qualities. Better spacing will open things up for D’Angelo Russell’s spot-up shooting and passing vision. The transition heavy tempo will allow Jordan Clarkson to show off his athleticism, along with Julius Randle and Larry Nance, Jr.
Speaking of Nance Jr., his energetic and all-out playing style will not be exclusive to the player who wears the ‘7’ jersey. Players on the roster are excited and have shown they’re ready to give it all they have for their new coaches. This team needs to be measured by their energy, their cohesiveness, and improvement from past years.
We should not be using wins to see where this team is at developmentally, but should be watching and asking questions about the growth of each player. How can Julius Randle expand his game? Can Jordan Clarkson improve his three-point shooting? How will Brandon Ingram go about guarding stronger, faster players at the next level? The answers to those questions will say more about this team’s future than next year’s win total.
Ivica Zubac alone cannot save this franchise, contrary to popular belief. A Huertas-Calderon backcourt, despite all the star power, won’t win 74 games by itself. The Yi Jianlian signing may have fans thinking a championship is in the immediate future, but we need to temper those expectations. Things take time.