The Los Angeles Lakers have shocked the National Basketball Association with their 6-5 start to the season. The expedited growth of the young core has flourished under new head coach Luke Walton. The team has fully bought into the system, as offensive-minded players, such as Nick Young, are invested into playing on both ends of the floor.
Walton and his squad have completed some incredible wins early into the season, including victories against the Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks and their impressive comeback victory against the Sacramento Kings.
Although the team stumbled with their loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday, Clarkson and the group ended the road trip with a 2-1 winning record. With the team showing they can compete against any team, they have bought into Walton’s new system, as the young core is fully behind the 26th head coach in franchise history.
During a recent interview, Young was asked about a potential playoff birth this season. He responded by stating he believes so and pointed out to Clarkson how the expectations have miraculously grown in such a short period of time, via Mark Medina of the O.C. Register:
“We think we could, for sure,” Lakers forward Nick Young said. “If we continue to play how we’ve been playing…..”
Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson then interrupted Young and asked about the subject matter. After Young caught Clarkson up to speed, the two playfully chastised a reporter for bringing up the topic.
“It’s not nice. You put pressure on these young guys,” Young said. “Now we have to make the playoffs when you said [before] we were the last team in the world.”
Coming into the 2016-17 season, the Lakers were projected by ESPN to have the least wins in the NBA, which may look like a long shot at this point.
There are currently nine teams in the NBA that have fewer than four wins this season, while the Lakers are currently at sixth, over the .500 mark and are ranked eighth in the Western Conference in the early playoff standings.
Walton recently stated that the team is not concerned with the playoff race and that this roster needs to have a game-by-game mentality in order to consider a postseason push.
Whether the Lakers can keep up this momentum remains to be seen, but fans are once again excited and are witnessing first-hand the development of the new era of Lakers basketball.