The Los Angeles Lakers were largely expected to be a lottery team going into the 2017-18 season, but while head coach Luke Walton and the young core he’s been tasked with developing are unlikely to make the playoffs, they’ve still shown far more progress than many expected.
The Lakers have improved their defensive efficiency from the bottom of the league to 13th coming out the All-Star break. All the while, the team’s young core has shown signs of positive development on both ends of the floor throughout the season.
All of those things and more are reasons to be happy with the Lakers’ play thus far. And despite the team being on a three-game losing streak, Walton wanted his players to relax during their time off, and elected to keep his focus on the positive aspects, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“I told the guys, ‘Enjoy the break. Relax, get your mind and your body ready for these last 25 games.’ Where we are now as a team, from where we came from at the start of the season, there’s been a lot of growth. I’m really happy and proud with the way our guys conducted themselves, the way they’ve worked, the way they’ve fought through adversity so far. I want to come out and play the way that we were playing. I think it will be good for our guys to get away for a little bit. Overall, I’m very pleased with the year that we’ve had as a group.”
The Lakers likely did need a bit of a break to allow their legs to get a little fresher, give Lonzo Ball time to get right and get back out on the floor and overall just for the team to take a mental breather before they head down the stretch of the season.
If the team can come back with the right mindset of finishing the year strong, then maybe they can build a bit of momentum heading into the summer as the young core continues to develop, and the front office tries to sell them as worth joining to free agents.
But even if none of that works out, Walton is right that the team still has plenty to be proud of with the year they’ve had so far.
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