By: Spencer Quist
Well, this is something isn’t it? We are about 9 games into the NBA season and the surprises have been abundant. The self-proclaimed “Super-teams”, being the New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors, are a combined 10-6. James Harden is a point guard and is the league leader in assists. DeMar DeRozan is your league leader in points. Minnesota is the best three point shooting team in the league. But the most surprising and interesting story right now is this Lakers team.
The Lakers were not supposed to be anything in this 2016-2017 season. Playing their first game without Kobe Bryant since May 2, 1996 on the roster, this season seemed as one to develop younger talent. Maybe get another lottery pick and start focusing on the standings in a year or two. They are now 5-4, with a win against arguably the best team on the planet, the Golden State Warriors. They are the sixth highest scoring team in the league. They are a run and gun team that is beating teams, but doing so in an eloquent manner. They run fast, are not afraid to take shots, and can spread the floor in a hurry. They work with a classic offense, driving in and kicking out, matching with the sixth most efficient shooting percentage in the league. But most important, they just seem more confident. If you watch games they played in last year, there would be hesitation with shots or an extra pass made that doesn’t need to be. This is not the case this year.
But where did this difference come in? It started with the change at the coaching position. Luke Walton, the same coach who should have been the Coach of the Year after taking over Golden State last year when Steve Kerr had to take time off, is the figurehead to this team. He brought the same sort of speed that Golden State plays with to a young team that does not lack this key attribute. They also have a leader. D’angelo Russell, who has rebounded beautifully after his controversial rookie season and is making Steph Curry-esque plays. Julius Randle is a massive man who can bully you in the paint and follow it up with guard like handles. Nick Young aka Swaggy P is being, well, Swaggy P. Also it helps when Louis Williams is dropping 16 points a night. They play defense as a team, with big men Larry Nance Jr. and Timofey Mozgov guarding the paint. They are a scary defense who is not afraid to play physically, and give up no easy buckets down low.
It is weird typing this, but the Los Angeles Lakers are a scary team. Thanks to Luke Walton they play a beautiful brand of basketball. They are balanced and has finally developed a charisma that will be hard to be beat. Watch out for the