Coming into this season the belief surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers was that the team would need at least one more star player to become a true championship contender. That notion remains one of the foremost thoughts about the franchise and something that head coach Luke Walton doesn’t agree with.
Of course, it would be difficult for him to say anything else, but Walton believes in his team more than anyone else and wants to bring the Lakers back to their former glory.
“Yeah, absolutely,” Walton responded when asked if the current roster can win a championship. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. I can already see in your faces the headline, ‘Luke says Lakers are winning championship now,’ but absolutely.
“This group, if we continue to grow together and go through what teams go through, and our young players continue to get better at the rate that they have, absolutely.”
Just because Walton believes this team can win a championship doesn’t mean the franchise will stick with the group moving forward. They reportedly pursued a trade for Trevor Ariza and are believed to be open to moving Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Regardless of what future deals may arise, Walton remains focused on what he has currently. “I’m always coaching that the guys we have are the guys we have going forward,” he said.
“I’m a big fan of our young core, the players we’ve brought in and groomed. That will never change. If moves are made, then they’re made. But I’m going to always approach it as this is our group moving forward.”
Walton is also very happy with the development of his Lakers, particularly on the defensive end. “It’s one of my favorite things we’ve got going,” the Lakers coach added. “We’ve got a brand new team together, only two months in, we’ve gone from the bottom of the defensive end to the top 10, which is a huge part of what we want to be.”
That being said, Walton understands there is still much room for improvement for his team despite being satisfied overall.
“Our passing, we’re slowly getting to the idea of making the right pass all the time. We’re not great at that yet but we’re trending in the right direction,” he noted.
“We’re turning the ball over a little too much. But there’s a lot of things about our culture, the way our guys interact with each other, the joy that they have when they’re in this building, I’m very pleased.”