Although the Los Angeles Lakers lost a tough contest against the Dallas Mavericks Tuesday night, the team is off to a successful 4-4 start. The young core has bought into his head coach Luke Walton’s system, while they continue to grow and learn the ins and outs of the NBA.
The franchise has been thrilled with the results Walton and the team has had thus far, as each game has been competitive regardless of the final outcome (except the blowout of the Warriors). The Lakers want to continue to succeed, escaping the soft label that angered Jordan Clarkson and the roster.
Clarkson also went as far as to say he would run through a wall for his head coach, demonstrating the admiration and respect the team has for the 26th head coach in franchise history.
Walton was asked about how the team has fared eight games into the season and was surprised by the success and results the team has shown on the court, via Chris Mannix of The Vertical:
“That’s happened faster than I thought,” Walton said. “It doesn’t surprise me that we’re in all of our ball games. We have got a group of guys that are very competitive. But it’s a new group together. Closing games is a tough thing to do at this level. We weren’t able to close out games early. The Atlanta game, they did it, and since then they have tried to sustain it. It’s going to be an up-and-down year, and we still are making a lot of mistakes. But they have found a knack and a belief in themselves and a team.”
The Lakers are currently slotted as the eighth seed, although every realistic fan understands there are still 74 games left in the season. However, the roster continues to show a certain resiliency on the court, along with a competitiveness to succeed.
Walton isn’t currently focused on any playoff race, as it is more important for the team to learn from their mistakes in order to grow as a unit. While the team will undergo growing pains, especially with the young core, it is all in the grand scheme of things for Walton.
The Lakers face off against the Sacramento Kings on Thursday, in a national telecast on NBA On TNT. The game is slated for a 7:30 P.M. PST start, in a battle between two Pacific Division foes.