The Los Angeles Lakers have gotten back into the preseason grind, with training camp getting underway in Santa Barbara. In the first training camp with head coach Luke Walton, the players are getting adjusted to his philosophies, outlook, and style of play.
The young core of the Lakers enters training camp in a different direction compared to the motive under former head coach Byron Scott. Walton’s style of play has already been heavily praised by the team, with some players anxious to get underway.
However, the rookies are still getting their first taste, adjusting to the schedule and demands that await them. Rookie Brandon Ingram, the second overall selection in the 2016 NBA Draft, is certainly one of the most heavily watched players entering training camp.
While Ingram isn’t expected to start once the season begins, general manager Mitch Kupchak has insisted he will see a lot of minutes.
Walton, who is implementing a modern style of play, brings a more relatable approach the millennial generation of players. Rather than learning the old-school style of play, the players can relate to the evolving game.
Ingram, who declared for the draft after one season at Duke, certainly will reap some benefits. After flourishing with Coach K, he is entering his first season under a player’s coach.
The North Carolina native sat down for an interview with NBA TV and discussed the comparisons between Coach K and Walton now that he has a few practices under his belt:
“Pretty much the same practices. They have a similar playing style. The open guy gets the open shot,” Ingram said. “We’re just running. We’re running us to death. We’re trying to get into transition and get out there defensively. So it’s similar. I like Luke. He’s been a great dude on and off the court, and he is pushing everyone.”
The expected up-tempo style of offense should produce strong offensive numbers, but defense has thus far been the theme. Through the first few practices in training camp, there has been a notable trend towards the defensive end of the floor.
Walton also has done a splendid job of relating to the players. For example, Walton’s role in letting players listen to music while practicing. The 26th head coach in Lakers history picked up the idea from Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.
Music does bring a comforting sensation to the players and also figures to be an indicator of the seriousness of practice. The Lakers have had fun with the music selection, with the veterans of the team also getting a strong say in what has been played.
However, Ingram still needs to work his way up before giving consistent input on the playlist:
“Trying to put in new songs. Talked to a few guys, but I think I’ll try to do it sometime soon,” the rookie said. “It’s not different; it’s kind of like going back to workouts. Of course, we didn’t do that at Duke, but it’s a good, relaxing feeling when you’re doing it with music.”
The young core will continue to develop with their rookie head coach, as the group formed a strong relationship playing together over the summer under the instruction of Walton.
The Lakers open up preseason play on Oct. 4, in their opening matchup against the Sacramento Kings. The contest will be played at the Honda Center, in Anaheim, California.