The Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of a rough patch in this early season as they have lost four of their last five games to fall back under .500 for the first time since the beginning of the month. Despite the struggles, however, General Manager Mitch Kupchak likes the progress he has seen from the team.
Head coach Luke Walton has gotten the Lakers to buy into his system and the Lakers as a whole have shown a lot of heart in fighting back from deficits against some top teams this season.
In an interview with Sam Amick of USA Today, Kupchak spoke about Walton instilling a selflessness within this Lakers team:
“It’s a completely different team, and it’s going to be a different team a year from now because everybody’s going to be a year older,” Kupchak said. “But (Walton has) instilled a selflessness to the team. It looks like he’s going to play a bunch of guys. Everybody feels invested in the game. They’re going to get a chance to play. They play hard. They look like they have fun.”
This is something that has been evident throughout this season. Multiple players have spoken about how different things are this year, and that they are playing for each other. This belief in teammates and the system in general is a major reason why the Lakers have been better than expected.
It’s pretty easy to look at the Lakers circumstances and understand their recent struggles. Their schedule is extremely tough right now with the majority of their games against teams over .500 and many of those on the road. Additionally, the Lakers are dealing with injury issues to three starters as D’Angelo Russell is out a couple weeks while Julius Randle and Nick Young each missed Friday’s game with more minor injuries.
Despite all of that the Lakers still have a belief in themselves and the direction they are going and that is a credit to Kupchak, Walton, and the rest of the organization.