The rebuilding process is still very much underway for the Los Angeles Lakers. Head coach Luke Walton running the show appears to be a step in the right direction for the storied franchise, but there’s still a long way to go before a clear picture of the future can be seen in Los Angeles.
The Utah Jazz, however, are arguably a few years ahead of the Lakers regarding their rebuilding process under head coach Quin Snyder. Utah has shown considerable progress over the last few years and may be playoff bound at the end of this season with a few talented young players like Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Rudy Gobert leading the way.
Walton hopes the Lakers can follow in the footsteps of the new and improved Jazz. The first-year head coach said the following about Snyder’s squad after Tuesday’s loss at the Staples Center, via Mark Medina of the OC Register:
“That’s our goal,” Walton said. “We hope to build a foundation and system that will lead us to success. With time and understanding, we can become a better team, a playoff team and ultimately compete for championships.”
For the Jazz, Tuesday’s win improved their record to 19-13 on the season thus far. Utah is currently in sixth place in the Western Conference standings and one game back of Russell Westbrook’s Oklahoma City Thunder.
As for the Lakers, Los Angeles drops to 12-23 while sitting in the 12th spot in the West with the team looking up at the New Orleans Pelicans (12-21), Portland Trail Blazers (13-20), Denver Nuggets (13-18), and Sacramento Kings (14-17) for the eight seed in the conference.
With 47 games left to be played and only a handful of wins separating all of these teams, the Lakers will have the opportunity to turn things around this season. The question is whether they’ll be able to do just that and correct their deficiencies on defense to become a legitimate playoff contender in the West.