It may be only a seven games into the 2016-16 NBA season, but the Los Angeles Lakers are already making some noise in the Western Conference. The storied franchise has seemingly started to turn things around with new head coach Luke Walton changing the culture while directing this team on the right path to success.
With Walton having the Lakers over .500 for the first time since December of 2013, Los Angeles is starting to get recognized as a team on the rise. Even Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has taken notice and recently praised Walton for getting this team back on track, via Sam Amick of USA Today:
“It does seem to have come together, and everybody pulls for each other, and Luke is the ring leader,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak told USA TODAY Sports. “There’s no doubt (Walton is) in command. He’s in charge. I wouldn’t say he’s easygoing. He knows what he wants, and he’ll enforce whatever it takes to get what he wants to get on the court.”
The team’s young players are highly motivated to play for their new head coach this season and it shows with the team currently on a three-game winning streak. D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, and Julius Randle have had nothing but high praise for Walton with most of the team claiming they’d “run through a wall” for the first-year head coach.
Kupchak knew Walton was the right guy for the job to replace Byron Scott over the summer with the team hiring him on the spot after his interview. Although Walton impressed the Lakers brass, Kupchak has been surprised to see a little something extra, via Amick:
“He’s got a little bit more of an edge than I thought. I knew, as a competitor and as a player, he had the edge. But he does have a little bit more of an edge as a coach than I thought he would’ve.”
With Walton leading the way, the Lakers will try to keep heading in the right direction on Tuesday night. Los Angeles will host the struggling Dallas Mavericks at the Staples Center looking to improve their record to 5-3 on the season and 4-0 on their home floor.