The Los Angeles Lakers have been one of the biggest surprises of the NBA season so far, improving their record to 4-3 after their third straight victory on Sunday night against the Phoenix Suns.
For a young team experiencing their first real success, it can be easy for them to start becoming overconfident. Many squads struggle to handle success well at the beginning and start believing they are better than they really are. Head coach Luke Walton was concerned about that heading into Sunday night’s game.
The Lakers seem determined, however, to not let that happen. According to Tania Ganguli of the LA Times, forward Larry Nance Jr. says the team hasn’t had enough success to get into their own heads:
"We won 17 games last year. What are we, 4-3? That's not enough success to get into anyone's head." — Larry Nance Jr. #Lakers
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) November 7, 2016
After only 17 wins last season being excited over this start is expected, but Nance’s thinking is ideal, and hopefully the team has the same mindset. It is very early in the season, and while four wins is nice, it’s far too small of a sample size to assume that things have turned around already for the franchise.
The Lakers still have a long way to go before they will undoubtedly be considered contenders for a playoff spot in the Western Conference, let alone an NBA championship. These are the first steps towards getting there, but the Lakers simply haven’t accomplished anything just yet.
The foundation of this team is set with Walton leading arguably the most talented young core in the league of D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram, Jordan Clarkson, and Nance. Early success is welcome, but if the Lakers let that success get in their heads, it won’t last long.