The Los Angeles Lakers have been one of the best stories of the season so far. Rookie head coach Luke Walton has got the players, as Jordan Clarkson said, ready to 'run through walls' for him, and it has produced some incredible results.
For the first time since November 2013, before the dark days of Byron Scott's tenure, the Lakers are over .500 and the optimism for the future is clear for all to see just months after Kobe Bryant retired.
Walton has done a lot of good since arriving back in the City of Angels; his transformation of Nick Young from unwanted bench warmer to an experienced mentor of the young core is a testament to his ability as a coach. And there have been visible improvements in the all-around games of Clarkson, Julius Randle and D'Angelo Russell.
But arguably the most impressive thing Walton has done is instil a team-first mentality. A dressing room that has seemed so fractured in recent years has come together as one and started in fantastic fashion.
No single player is seen as the superstar. Minutes have been evenly shared through the roster, leading to a sense of togetherness and comradery.
Due to that, the Lakers currently have the highest-scoring bench unit in the NBA. With Clarkson - averaging 14.1 points - dropping out of the starting five to accommodate Young, and Lou Williams on 15.3 per game, the Purple and Gold's rotation is averaging 50.6 points a night.
That's five more than any other franchise and shows the strides that have been made by L.A. in such a short space of time.