The Los Angeles Lakers have made some big-splash moves this offseason that has been headlined by the addition of four-time league MVP LeBron James.
This has brought forth a tremendous amount of expectations on the franchise to take a significant step forward with James leading the charge in Los Angeles. With that in mind, head coach Luke Walton voiced during a recent interview with Spectrum Sportsnet’s “Connected With…” series that is amped for the upcoming season with the new-look roster while also making it clear that he doesn’t feel the extra pressure. (h/t Matthew Moreno of LakersNation.com)
“No. I mean, the pressure for me is about wanting to do my job really well and wanting to win. I love to compete, I love the idea of the group working together to beat another team. And I’m huge on as a group, we block out the outside noise, the outside issues, and we focus on what we can do. Now, if we don’t win as a group, then there’s pressure on myself because I want to do better. But as far as because we now have the best player in the world on our team and some people say we’re going to win the Finals, others say we’re not going to make the playoffs, I’m not going to tell my players to not pay attention to that if I don’t pay attention.”
The Lakers now have some elevated amounts of pressure on their shoulders with James in the mix, especially with him going to eight straight NBA Finals. The 33-year-old brings a huge amount of expectations for his own play and ability on the court to impact his team given his track record.
It will be a process with the team jelling together on the court over the next several weeks that should extend through the start of the season as the roster of young and proven talent works toward building an identity. At the same time, Los Angeles is anticipated to become one of the top teams in the league that should be well in the playoff picture.
However, the fact that Walton has this type of mindset and self-pressure to lead this team to much success could bode well in his first real test as a head coach to push a team to the playoffs and possibly much further.
Bob Garcia IV
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