The Los Angeles Lakers will officially enter the post Kobe Bryant era Wednesday night as the Lakers host the Houston Rockets in its season opener. The Lakers hope to return to playoff contention led by new head coach Luke Walton and the young core headlined by D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram.
The Lakers are undergoing a youth movement and patience will be key with following this position group’s development. Russell is looking to take the next step in his second season and must figure out how to mesh with his new sidekick in 2016 second overall pick from Duke Brandon Ingram.
The Lakers ownership believe one of the biggest factors in turning the franchise around is the hiring of Walton. The team is excited to bring back one of its former players who has been learning from one of the best coaches in the league in Steve Kerr.
“I think that Luke Walton is somebody that will be with us for a long time. We’re committed to seeing him be successful,” said Lakers president Jeanie Buss. “I believe with the leadership we have in Luke Walton, that we will get back to the kind of standard that my dad set.”
There is a clear leadership void that has to be filled and Russell wants the Lakers to model the Spurs template by leading as a unit and not as one.
“When we traveled to San Antonio last season, I noticed that it’s about everybody-they had all those household names, but the 15th guy got the same amount of attention as Tim Duncan, who’s a legend. I feel like we’re all buying into that concept,” said Russell.
The Lakers hope to increase its win total this season, but have the potential to be a very fun team to watch this season. Lakers fans should be excited for the future as the team is in the beginning stages of getting back on track to its winning ways with the new coaching and player tandem.