Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Walton has Lakers Moving in Right Direction

Last season, the Los Angeles Lakers didn’t win their fourth game until December, this year, they already have four wins and we’re still in the first week of November. Going in to the season, the Lakers weren’t popular NBA betting picks, but after the 20 point beat down they put on the Golden State Warriors on Friday, that is about to change.

Last year, the Lakers were one of the few teams that defeated the Golden State Warriors. At the time, the win was considered a fluke because the Lakers weren’t very good. This time around, other teams will be taking notice of the young Lakers, who have been one of the most entertaining teams in the NBA so far.

If the Lakers are somehow able to make the playoffs this year, rookie head coach Luke Walton will be the front runner for Coach of the Year.

Last season, the Lakers had an aging Kobe Bryant and rookies DeAngelo Russell and Julius Randle (He played in the first game of the 2014 season before suffering a season ending injury), but head coach Byron Scott deferred to Bryant during his last season in the league, and didn’t give the young players enough time on the court.

With Walton at the help and Bryant in retirement, the Lakers have embraced their youthfulness and are starting to have fun again. During the offseason, the Lakers also added veteran leadership by signing Luol Deng, Timofey Mozgov, and Metta World Peace, who have proven to be instrumental in helping the younger players adjust to life in the NBA.

Further proof of the new philosophy in Laker land is the transformation of Nick “Swaggy P” Young, who was one of the worst players on the team last year, but is now one of the best players on the team this year. Young, who was more into creating his own brand than playing well, had become a defensive force for the Lakers, and the team is hoping his play continues through the rest of the season.

Lou Williams, who was one of the odd men out last season, has also improved his play under Walton’s leadership this season.

Julius Randle, who was benched multiple times last season by Scott for not putting in a lot of effort on defense, has been one of the most improved players for the Lakers this season. He is currently averaging a double double and has improved defensively.

With the new look Lakers playing well under their rookie head coach, they are quickly becoming one of the teams to look out for in the future. While a lot of people are overreacting to their early success, they have to realize it is still very early in the season and the team is likely not going to finish better than 9th in the Western Conference.

However, from what we have seen from the team in their first seven games, Walton has them moving in the right direction, which is a big deal for Lakers fans because the franchise hasn’t had a stretch this bad since becoming an NBA team.

One thing is for sure, the future of the franchise is looking very bright.

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