The Los Angeles Lakers are not a title-contending team in the NBA. Many would contend the Lakers will miss the playoffs for a fourth straight season as they head into the 2016-17 campaign. The Golden State Warriors, however, have their eyes on the prize once again with Steve Kerr leading a superstar cast of players that already seem to be clicking with the addition of Kevin Durant.
On Saturday night, the Warriors proved just how far ahead of the Lakers they truly are at this point. Golden State crushed the Lakers in the first half in Las Vegas scoring 74 points while holding Los Angeles to 47 with solid performances from Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Durant.
Although there is some optimism about the Lakers beginning to turn it around this season, the Warriors put them in their place and without much effort. After the loss to Golden State, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr spoke to the media and talked about the talent level improving in Los Angeles with potential for a bright future under Luke Walton, via ESPN’s Baxter Holmes:
“Honestly, you can come in with all kinds of ideas, but the players have to be good enough to win games. And I think the Lakers are building a really good wealth of young talent. I think they’ll get there. They have to be willing to work, and our guys were willing to work right away. Luke and I are pretty similar in our approach to the game. We want the ball to move. We want guys to work, but we want to have fun. We understand that this is a game. This is sport. They’re going to probably play better if they’re enjoying the atmosphere, and Luke will create a good atmosphere for them to work in.”
Walton hasn’t coached a regular season game for the Lakers yet and it already seems as though the culture of this team is completely different in comparison to last year. Walton has his players motivated and excited to play his brand of basketball which as been extremely successful in the Bay Area under Kerr.
The real question moving forward is whether the Lakers can emulate the Warriors’ success as well as their playing style and if that success is right around the corner or a few years down the road.