The Los Angeles Lakers have assembled an extremely intriguing young group of players over the last couple of years. Head coach Luke Walton has plenty to work with in D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr., and Ivica Zubac.
Walton led the young Lakers to an impressive 10-10 start this season, but things have spiraled since with the Lakers dropping 10 of their last 11 games. With the recent slide, some have wondered if the Lakers should begin looking to package a couple of those players in a trade for an established star.
Walton isn’t one who thinks like that, however, as he told Zach Lowe of ESPN that he would prefer the Lakers grow from within:
Luke Walton, the team’s new head coach, doesn’t want to hear it. “If you grow from within, you control your own destiny,” he told ESPN.com. “That’s the game plan. We want to see what this group can do. We don’t want to rely on anything else — on free agency, or trades.”
Going with this plan will take far more time, but it could ultimately bring the biggest reward. Obviously none of the Lakers’ young guys have been at the level of players like Karl-Anthony Towns or Kristaps Porzingis, but that doesn’t mean they can’t eventually be All-Stars or superstars.
Guys like Kawhi Leonard and Paul George got off to slow starts in their careers before eventually blossoming into bonafide stars and All-NBA players. The potential is there for guys like Randle, Russell, and Ingram to do the same, but the Lakers must be patient and Walton understands that.
Before the season Walton said this year would be about development, not wins and losses. Recently he spoke openly about no player on the team being ready to be the face of the Lakers franchise. Despite their struggles, Walton still wants these players to stick together and he clearly believes that things will ultimately payoff for them down the line.