The Los Angeles Lakers opened up the 2017-18 season with raised expectations in place. With a revamped roster surrounding head coach Luke Walton, the team looks to gel together as they embark on this 82-game season.
Part of that process involves players acclimating with one another and the coaching staff to create team chemistry. Entering the season, the Lakers have shown flashes of brilliance on the court, which is what Walton wants to capture and bottle up. In order to provide more consistent stretches of play, Walton plans on getting to know as much about his players as possible, so that they can have an open relationship.
As one of the true joys of coaching, Walton understands the ongoing relationship every player requires. During his appearance on Michael Gervais’ Finding Mastery podcast, he described why he desires to create an open relationship both on and off the court:
“I love getting to know these young players. Try to help them reach and realize their dreams, seeing it happen and I want to know how I can help them not only on the court, but off it too. To me, this is such a family environment. I don’t want it to strictly be business. If you’re a player of mine and something is happening at home or your cousin or your brothers, something is bothering you, come to my office and let’s talk about it.”
Walton did learn from one from a Hall-of-Famer in his father, Bill Walton. Considering his father’s relationship with John Wooden, he surely understands the basics of how important the mental aspect of the game is. He now gets a chance to create that relationship with the likes of Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Kyle Kuzma, as they continue the beginnings of their career.
The team will have a lot of aspects to work on in practice and the film room as the season progresses, with Walton and many of the NBA coaching legends believing that basketball is a game from the neck up just as much it is from the neck down.
The Lakers gear up for the two more games against Eastern Conference opponents at Staples Center, before heading up to face the Utah Jazz.