The Los Angeles Lakers have been off to a surprising start to the season holding a .500 record through the first 16 games. It has caught much of the league from the way that they are playing on the court under new head coach Luke Walton. This list includes Kevin Durant, who not only is impressed by the Lakers but also sees a resemblance his the way they played to his days with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“You can tell they enjoy playing with each other. You can tell Luke Walton has come over there and changed the culture a bit. I’ve been on a team like that. You’re young and just want to go out there and have fun with the game with no expectations. You’re just playing.”
“They got great management, ownership and that seeps through the organization,” Durant said of the Lakers. “It falls down to Luke Walton. Being here now, you can tell the atmosphere they have and how it’s the same. A lot of stuff we run, they run. A lot of things we do, they do over there with the Lakers. It starts with being in an environment where it’s about the players and it’s about wanting them to get better.”
There is a completely noticeable difference from the way that the Lakers are playing under Walton through the early portion of the season. The team is playing with much more freedom on the offensive end that has led to them being one of the highest-scoring teams in the league. The fact that Durant can draw that connection to the team as compared to his successful tenure with the Thunder is a telling sign for the direction that the franchise headed in.
However, Los Angeles will face their first true test with D’Angelo Russell being out for the next two to three weeks due to soreness in his left knee. Russell is the team’s leading scorer and head of the snake for their offense. It will be interesting to see if they can continue to keep trending in the right direction.