The Los Angeles Lakers are heading into a matchup nightmare with the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night. The reigning Western Conference champions added another superstar to their already talented roster over the summer with Kevin Durant, and teams around the league, including the Lakers, are not looking forward to figuring out how to stop this offensive juggernaut.
Ahead of Saturday’s preseason game against the Warriors in Las Vegas, Walton talked about facing his former team for the first time since becoming head coach of the Lakers. Although Walton will eventually be putting together defensive schemes to contain arguably the best point guard in the league in Stephen Curry as well as Durant, the first-year head coach is more concerned with implementing basic principles on defense at this point, via ESPN’s Baxter Holmes:
Walton added, “No, we’re not going to pick him up at half court, we’re not going to do a bunch of crazy schemes. We’re going to continue to work on what our basic defensive principles will be.”
Ever since taking over as head coach of the storied franchise, Walton has stressed the team’s need to improve defensively. The 36-year-old has said time and time again the Lakers need to correct their defensive deficiencies and so far he seems to have all the team’s young players and veterans buying into his plan.
Along with making strides defensively, Walton is implementing his offensive system which will mirror what the Warriors are doing in the Bay Area. D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, and rookie Brandon Ingram form Walton’s young core and will be featured heavily in this new system as the Lakers try to rebuild this team into a perennial playoff contender in the West.
Saturday’s matchup against the Warriors will be the first of two games against Walton’s former team. The Lakers will face Golden State one more time during the preseason on Oct. 19 in San Diego at Valley View Casino Center.