In many ways, the L.A. Lakers are a work in progress and no amount of enthusiasm or positivity emanating from their young head coach will change that.
Expectations need to be managed carefully. The Purple and Gold side that could only tally 17 wins last season hasn't changed dramatically, with Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng arriving on inflated contracts and Brandon Ingram landing in L.A. as the second overall draft pick.
Still, after defeating James Harden and the Houston Rockets on opening night, it appeared as though the Lakers might surprise a few people this season.
Three consecutive losses to the Jazz, the Thunder and the Pacers have brought Luke Walton and his troops back down to reality and the 36-year-old coach cut a frustrated figure after falling to Indiana 108-115.
“I would’ve thought after losing two games, we would have come out chomping at the bit to play again and try to get a win,” Walton told Mark Medina of the Orange County Register. “I don’t know why we didn’t come out with the intensity and hunger we should after early losses.”
In truth, Paul George was the difference between the two sides as the small forward registered a game-high 30 points.
The Lakers do not possess a superstar of his calibre, so they need to learn lessons as a team and learn them quickly.
Their last of four straight games on the road comes in Atlanta tonight.