The Los Angeles Lakers are more than ready to embark on a new season, with a team that feels markedly different than the disappointing squads the franchise has run out in recent seasons.
Drafting Lonzo Ball was a key move for the Lakers, who traded one could-be franchise point guard to make space for the new guy in town in Lonzo. So far, everything coming out of Los Angeles is positive, with the team embracing Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka’s leadership directives.
The Lakers have won just 91 games combined over the last four seasons, an embarrassing mark and proof positive that it was time for change on all fronts. If you ask Lonzo, though, the franchise is about to turn a page with a fresh 2017-2018 season in front of them.
Media crammed into the Lakers’ new training facility for media day on Monday, celebrating the official opening of a new season for the purple and gold. Ball, of course, was the leading draw throughout the day.
The irony of Ball having such huge media pull despite being a man of few words in his responses is palpable, but Lonzo made something very clear during his first media day press conference: He’s thinking playoffs.
“We’re focused on making the playoffs. Obviously it’s going to be a tough journey but we’re looking forward to it,” Ball said when asked what the teams goal is.
The Lakers haven’t seen the playoffs since 2013, when the franchise was swept by the San Antonio Spurs while Kobe Bryant recovered from a torn Achilles tendon he suffered as he carried the team into the postseason.
Lonzo leading the Lakers back to being a competitive team in the NBA is certainly what Magic envisioned when he drafted the dynamic Southern California product, and Ball sounds the part. What has Lonzo hopeful the team can get ff to a quick start is how much the team has been working together already.
“We have a very young team, and this summer everybody’s been in here. It kind of gave us a jump start, everybody got to know each other early and now we’re going into training camp, and everybody knows each other,” Ball said.
The Lakers’ digital team has been sharing pictures and video of the team working out together, and building that level of camaraderie early on is going to be key for Los Angeles if they really are thinking playoffs.