Post-Kobe-era Lakers were supposed to slip even further into the abyss that they crawled into last season but the young talent on their roster has other plans for this season. The Lakers are officially above .500 after defeating the Phoenix Suns last night and also notched their first three game winning streak of the season, a feat they only achieved once all last year and didn’t achieve until the halfway through the year.
The biggest difference about this years Lakers team, other than Kobe Bryant retiring, is the level of excitement exemplified from the players and new head coach Luke Walton. There’s a different air in the Staples Center and this young Lakers team almost looks polar opposite to the product fans witnessed last season.
Last night against the Suns, the Lakers rallied in a way that a veteran team would; absorbing attempts at knockout punches in the 4th and always responding swiftly and tactfully. Luke Walton has implemented a much more fast-pace style of offense, giving the young players the flexibility to take wide-open shots if they have them which is leading to a lot of easy transition baskets.
Russell, Clarkson, and Randle are all playing terrifically, elevating their level of play from last year and serving as a tremendous catalyst for the spirit and morale of this year’s team. Not to mention Nick Young has found his mojo again, surprisingly not only on offense but also on the defensive side of the ball as well.
Although it’s early, the future looks bright for this Lakers squad and that’s not even taking into account their #2 overall pick Brandon Ingram who is still slowly getting acclimated to the NBA game. He often doesn’t touch the ball much but if you watched him in college and the preseason, you know the talent is there. For Ingram it there will come a point when the timing is right for him to elevate his role into the Lakers scheme, and when he does so it could provide the deadly element to have them dreaming about some playoff aspirations.