The Los Angeles Lakers have been a surprising team for many this season. Their 10-14 record thus far this year was unexpected to say the least and has many around the NBA watching to see where they go from here.
The Lakers have not only been improved under Luke Walton’s watch but they have also been a much more enjoyable team to watch. It is clear that the players have enjoyed playing for their new head coach. While that may not matter much when winning, it is something that can catch the eyes of many people.
According to Walton (appearing on the Vertical Podcast with Adrian Wojnarowski), that has been a conscious decision on the part of the team as they strive to become a free agent destination once again:
“I think the NBA’s changed and it’s changed with the amount of media that’s out there now, and the social media. You can play anywhere now and be all over; everyone sees you. It’s gotten to a point where you need to be more than a great organization and have history to get these top-tier players. My number one job here is coaching the players that we have and getting a system in place and developing the young talent that we have. Those are all the things that take priority.
But yeah, at the same time, we want to set a tone and we want to play with a style and play with an effort that draws people to LA and gets the fans engaged in the game so these superstars coming to play, they see it and say, ‘That looks like a lot of fun to be a part of. I want to be part of that again.’ Hopefully, we’re back on the map with where the top level players want to be at.”
Walton is 100 percent correct. The Lakers have relied on the lure of Los Angeles and their storied franchise the past few free agency periods to almost no success. If they are to hit it big by bringing in stars to join their developing core, they will first need to build up the actual team. That means an improving record (check) and an enjoyable brand of basketball (check).
There’s no telling whether the Lakers will be seen as a top free agency destination once again this summer. But it is clear that they are headed in the right direction and will at least be a player in that realm of team building.