Not a bad start to the post-Kobe Bryant era. If one game is any indication, the new Los Angeles Lakers are showing a lot of promise.
The LA Clippers also won their first game of the 2016-2017 NBA season.
The Clippers are expected to finish near the top of the Western Conference; and the young Lakers near the bottom, once again.
But unlike the last two seasons, there’s a sense that the Lakers are finally heading in the right direction. Success will depend on the development of a core of young players like point guard D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram, the overall No. 2 pick in this year’s draft. The Lakers are being led by first-time head coach Luke Walton, a former Golden State Warriors assistant coach who’s just a few years removed from his own playing days.
For the Clippers, it’s championship or bust. The veteran team and coach Doc Rivers are gunning for the franchise’s first championship, but first they’ll have to show that they can get past the Warriors, the San Antonio Spurs and other elite teams. Another year of failing to reach the finals could lead team officials to blow up the roster and start over next year.
Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News told KCRW that at the very least, the Lakers should be entertaining this year:
“(Coach Luke Walton) wants to run at a fast pace. He wants to have what they call the floor spaced, not everyone clogged up. He wants people to people to be moving the ball a lot,” Medina said. “Now obviously with Golden State, that team had a lot more talent than the Lakers do now. So it’s not about just expecting them to be able to implement that as well. It’s more about just the philosophies and the culture that they are trying to emulate.”