Any time a team adds a player like LeBron James, who has made it to eight straight NBA Finals, the pressure on them immediately increases. For the Los Angeles Lakers, arguably nobody will feel the expectations rise than head coach Luke Walton.
He will have the difficult job of bringing together James and the rest of the veterans with the existing young core. Most see the Lakers as a likely playoff team, but not necessarily a title contender. Though, James disagrees with that, and Walton has the same belief.
During “An Evening With the Lakers,” Walton spoke about the possibility of his team being a championship contender and how that can come to fruition as the season goes on:
“September, probably not. Do I think come April, come playoff months? Absolutely I think we are. It takes time. You never just put a team together and they’re instantly a championship contender. That’s what the regular season is going to be all about this year. That’s what these guys coming in every day, playing together, getting to know each other, lifting weights together, is about. I think by the time the season comes and goes and we get towards the playoffs, if all goes the way we plan, then yeah, I truly believe we are.”
This mindset makes sense as most teams with a lot of new additions take time to develop chemistry. Players must get used to their new teammates and how they operate, and Walton must figure out the best combinations and rotations for the team to succeed.
The Lakers definitely have plenty of talent on the roster. Whether they can actually compete for a championship remains to be seen, but Walton will do everything in his power to get them to that level.