The Los Angeles Lakers are just days away from kicking things off for the 2017-18 season. Head coach Luke Walton will look to get his team ready as Lakers Media Day is Monday, with training camp officially kicking off the next day and the team’s first preseason game just days after.
For the first time in years there is legit optimism surrounding the team as the additions of players like Lonzo Ball, Brook Lopez, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, combined with the growth of Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, and Jordan Clarkson, makes the Lakers a very intriguing squad.
Walton knows exactly the way he wants his team to play next season. Which is why he plans on focusing on defense once training camp gets started via Lakers Reporter Mike Trudell:
“Defense is everything to start,” he said. “It’s defense, defense, defense, because we want to run. We want to run every opportunity we can. But it’s a lot easier to run when you can get stops and you’re not taking the ball out of the net … Our focus is going to be on getting that ball, getting it to Lonzo and getting on those wings and running as fast as we can.”
As Walton says, it is very difficult to be a running team when you’re constantly taking the ball out of bounds as opposed getting stops or creating turnovers. The Lakers ranked in the bottom-5 in opposing points per game, field goal percentage, and three-point percentage.
Teams such as ‘Showtime’ Lakers of the 1980s or the defending champion Golden State Warriors often get praised for their offensive exploits and fast pace. What many forget is that they are able to get out and run because they are excellent defensive teams.
Walton experienced that first-hand during his time with the Warriors and he is looking to replicate that in Los Angeles. The additions of Lopez and Caldwell-Pope should help on that front and if the Lakers can improve to even league average on that side, their offense will benefit greatly from it.