For the second consecutive season, the Los Angeles Lakers have gotten off to a promising start. This year’s team has done it a much different way than a season ago, however.
Luke Walton’s squad currently finds itself in the top-10 in defensive rating while also being among the league leaders in steals and blocks. Meanwhile, their offense, while improving, still seems far behind their defense for the time being.
This is a stark contrast to last season’s squad which was more focused on offense and eventually cooled down. That difference is why Walton believes this year’s start is more sustainable as he spoke about after the Lakers victory over the Memphis Grizzlies via Lakers reporter Mike Trudell:
Walton said this start could be more sustainable than last year (10-10) as the defense is much better. Last year more hot early shooting.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) November 6, 2017
Last season after starting 10-10, the Lakers would lose 15 of their next 17 games, plummeting down the standings. They would wind up winning just 26 games total, completely nullifying their excellent start to the year.
Walton’s squad definitely seems more equipped to maintain this level of play. As Walton noted, when teams play defense, they always give themselves a chance to win and the Lakers have shown that as the only game they haven’t had a chance to win in the fourth quarter was the season opener against the Clippers.
Last year’s team also began suffering some injuries which hurt them as well. The Lakers have lost Larry Nance Jr. for a few weeks, but so far that is the only one and they hope it will stay that way. Nonetheless, with the defense at a higher level, and the offense improving, the Lakers shouldn’t experience the type of dropoff they had last season.
Things will get tougher for the Lakers however as they are set to embark on a four-game road trip beginning with the rival Boston Celtics on Wednesday.
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