The Los Angeles Lakers on Monday afternoon held their Media Day to open up the 2017-18 season that featured an entirely new vibe around the organization behind the new management in place at the new UCLA Health Training Center.
Here are a few takeaways from the event:
Following his first official offseason as the Lakers’ general manager, Rob Pelinka voiced much optimism about the roster that he helped construct heading into this upcoming season.
One of the areas that he keyed in on was what he believed is a renewed focus toward competition and passion within the organization. In fact, he went as far to say that he feels that the team’s fanbase should expect to see an entertaining game on a nightly basis.
Rob Pelinka:"If our fans leave the game & you don't feel like our players had a Magic Johnson or Kobe Bryant mentality, we failed." #lakers
— Bob Garcia IV (@bgarcia90) September 25, 2017
Pelinka has put together a roster with the core group being primarily young talent with a blend of veteran presence to help further establish a culture around the team to build upon. This could set the basis of what’s to come for the next several seasons.
During the Las Vegas Summer League back in July, the Lakers had many reasons for encouragement stemming from the play of the team throughout the roster.
However, second-year big man Ivica Zubac notably struggled on the floor with the pace of play of the team’s offense. Since then it has been a point of emphasis for the 20-year-old heading into training camp.
“We played a lot quicker pace and I was not ready for that,” Zubac said. “I have been preparing for that pace all summer after Summer League. I’m going to be really ready.”
There could be some increased added pressure for Zubac to perform well in the coming weeks ahead of the start of the regular season with much competition at the center position with the offseason additions of veteran big men Brook Lopez and Andrew Bogut and 2017 second-round pick Thomas Bryant.
Despite that, it didn’t create much cause for concern from Zubac about how it could potentially impact him next season.
“Just be ready,” Zubac said. “Just do the stuff I did last season and I think I will be good. I’ve prepared for training camp all summer and I’m ready to earn my minutes.”
The offseason for the Lakers has given the new management in place to put in their own touch and feel with the direction of the franchise with a few roster moves.
This is something that fourth-year forward Julius Randle stated on Monday that he has quickly atoned to and credits to both Johnson and Pelinka for setting the table for this change in the environment around the team.
“It’s changed, honestly,” Randle said. “Credit to Magic [Johnson] and Rob [Pelinka]. They’ve done a great job of implementing what they want for this organization and guys are following along.”
Los Angeles has progressively shifted their focus and identity toward building a sustainable culture to finally break the longest playoff drought in franchise history with three straight losing seasons. There is an opportunity for the franchise to finally take a huge step forward in the right direction this upcoming season.