Positivity has run rampant throughout this summer, with several factors involved. Brandon Ingram has been added to the Los Angeles Lakers, guys like D'Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and the rest of the young core is a year older, the team enjoyed some success at Las Vegas Summer League and, there was one more thing I was going to mention... It's on the tip of my tongue... Ah, if I remember it, I'll come back to it.
Another major change (aside from those listed and that pesky other factor I simply can't remember at the moment) is a brand new head trainer: Marco Nuñez. He sat down for a podcast with Mike Trudell on the Lakers' official show, "The Popcorn Machine", and he said some pretty interesting things about the dynamic between him, the players and the coaching staff.
Oh that's right! The Lakers got a new coach and fired that other guy.
Look, it wouldn't be fair to credit the coaching change solely for the improved positivity around the team, but it would also be pretty naïve to think the young guys haven't enjoyed not being yelled at or kept consistently late for windsprints as they were last season.
While we were in Vegas, it was impossible not to notice those improved attitudes on and off the court, as well as on the bench. This was a completely different team than we saw a year ago at this time.
Nuñez spoke to this new vibe on the Popcorn Machine:
"The big change that I've seen from this year to last year is: this year they want to come to practice. They want to play the games. Everybody, Larry Nance, D'Angelo, Anthony Brown, the words that they keep saying to me is like, 'I love basketball again. I love basketball. I want to come here. I want to play.' They want to get on the court. They're having fun. That's the most important part. They're actually enjoying themselves, even at practice."
I mean, at no point last season did we hear anything like this. None, whatsoever. Nuñez goes on:
"Prime example: Yesterday, Luke (Walton) gave them a day off a day ago or two days ago and made it an optional shootaround and I was surprised to see Larry Nance. He jumped on the bus and I was like: 'Hey, you're here.' And he was just like, 'Yeah I just want to go get some shots up.' Where normally in the past year, you wouldn't have seen that."
Now, again, part of this might have to do with the players wanting to take it upon themselves to prove something this year, but Byron Scott's practices were very well known to be incredibly tough, to go with his proclivity for post-game messages to his young players that might not have inspired the desire to go out and put a little extra work in for him.
I know this is coming, so I guess I'll jump out ahead of it. Do not -- I repeat -- do not jump in my mentions or in the comment section with the "you millenials just don't know what hard work is" stuff. No one like to hear that. Not a single person.
Actually, I take that back. One single person might like to hear that message, and it's the dude I almost forgot to mention at the beginning of this article. It's for that reason his tenure will be looked back upon as so easily forgettable.
You can follow the author of this article on Twitter, @AnthonyIrwinLA.