As the Los Angeles Lakers are set to kick off training camp for the 2017-18 season, there is optimism and belief that the team could possibly compete for a playoff spot in the loaded Western Conference. One thing that will need to improve in order for that to happen is the team’s defense.
The Lakers finished dead last in defensive rating last season, and 28th in points allowed. Without improvement in that area, Luke Walton’s squad doesn’t stand a chance of rising in the standings.
That thought is not lost on the Lakers coach as he spoke at Lakers Media Day about that exact subject. Walton believes that the Lakers won’t be able to win consistently until they fix things on that end of the floor via Spectrum SportsNet:
“Until we fix the defense…it’s gonna be tough to win ballgames, which is ultimately what we want to do”
To that point, Walton added that he will not run a single offensive drill during the team’s first practice:
“First practice: All defense. We are not doing a single offensive drill in our first practice… Everything to us going into training camp is getting better on defense”
One thing that should help the Lakers on that end of the floor is the additions they have made this summer. Brook Lopez, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Andrew Bogut should all help the Lakers improve defensively. Additionally, rookie Josh Hart should give the team another perimeter defender.
Of course the team will also need improvements from the returning players. Larry Nance Jr has spoken passionately about taking responsibility for improvement on that end, and Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram, and Jordan Clarkson have all spoken about getting better defensively as well.
The Lakers want to get out and run and the best way to do that is to get stops on the defensive end. Walton plans to make sure that happens and it will start on day one.