After beating the Golden State Warriors in a 20-point rout on Friday, the Los Angeles Lakers have begun to make some noise only six games into the 2016-17 NBA season. New head coach Luke Walton has changed the culture in Los Angeles, and it is already starting to show with veterans and young players coming together in this new era of Lakers basketball.
One player that seems to motivate both on and off the basketball floor for the Lakers is veteran Metta World Peace. Last week, World Peace got into the game against the Indiana Pacers and left his mark at the free-throw line by simply repeating, “I love basketball.”
World Peace’s motto appears to have resonated throughout the Lakers locker room with the players breaking huddles with the phrase, according to D’Angelo Russell via Lakers reporter Mike Trudell:
The Lakers say “I love basketball” when they break huddles, says Russell. Embracing the message from Walton to enjoy this “job.“
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) November 5, 2016
Everything seems to be coming together much quicker than anticipated for a team that many believed would struggle once again this season. Los Angeles may not be making a case to be a playoff contender as of yet, but the narrative is changing with the team sporting a .500 record (3-3) heading into Sunday’s game against the Phoenix Suns.
The Lakers will attempt to get over .500 on Sunday night against their division rivals, and if they’re able to do so, Walton’s squad will continue to receive high praise while putting the league on notice. Los Angeles may still be in the process of rebuilding the franchise while moving on from Kobe Bryant, but something special could be brewing with this squad as they come together and establish their identity.