The Los Angeles Lakers have had their troubles in recent years, including posting a franchise-worst 17 wins last season, but the team has had an air of optimism around them lately. They have acquired an intriguing young core of talent at every position, from guards D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson to power forward Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr. This summer, they completed the rotation by adding small forward Brandon Ingram and center Ivica Zubac, both of whom performed well during the Las Vegas Summer League.
However, it was the departure of head coach Byron Scott, and the subsequent hiring of Luke Walton, that appears to have done the most to create the current feel-good vibe rippling through Los Angeles. In a recent interview with women’s sports outlet Excelle, Lakers President Jeanie Buss praised Walton’s hiring as the best move the team made this summer:
“The last three seasons for Lakers fans have been very difficult. The best thing we’ve done over the last few months is hire Luke Walton. He has brought an energy to this organization that is refreshing. He has all the players eager to get on the court. I think Luke is a natural. This is the start of something really exciting.”
Ideally, Walton will be able to take the skills that he learned as Steve Kerr‘s lead assistant with the Golden State Warriors, who employ a brand of basketball that is significantly more aesthetically pleasing than what we saw from the Lakers last season. Of course, the current Lakers lineup lacks the firepower of the Warriors, but the hope is that Walton will be able to slowly build the team and bring them back to the top of the NBA mountain.