The Los Angeles Lakers picked up their 22nd win of the season on Sunday against the Grizzlies which is their highest win total over the last three seasons. In the minds of some fans, this season is now simply about ping pong balls, but that couldn’t be farther from the case for the Lakers players themselves.
With only five games remaining this season, the Lakers are looking at these final games as an opportunity to begin building for next season. Larry Nance Jr. pointed to one of his veteran teammates for making it clear how important this last stretch is.
“Metta [World Peace] preached it all year. How you finish is how you start the next [season]. We just want to finish strong. Whether that results in wins and losses we aren’t so worried about that but we have our group of guys that are going to be together for the next couple of years. We just want to grow and get better chemistry and flow into next year on a high note.”
Sunday’s win for the Lakers coupled with a loss by the Phoenix Suns has officially moved the Lakers ahead of the Suns in the standings. Phoenix has played one more game than the Lakers however, so if both teams were to lose all of their remaining games they would end up tied for the second-worst record in the league. Needless to say, every win (or loss) matters.
But the players can’t worry about that. Guys like Nance, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell, and Jordan Clarkson are trying to keep developing as a group for the future. Meanwhile, players like David Nwaba, Tarik Black, and Thomas Robinson are just trying to prove to the Lakers that they should be brought back.
Ingram has certainly looked much improved lately and Luke Walton has taken note of Russell’s development as well. It is these things that could set the Lakers up for much greater success going into next season and Nance wants to make sure that happens.
**All quotes obtained by Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters unless otherwise noted**