A new season of basketball is upon the Los Angeles Lakers. There’s something about listening to the squeak of sneakers, the thud of the hardwood and the swish of the net on opening night. There’s an anxious excitement about these Lakers in a potential make-or-break season, despite the franchise being in position in the long-term no matter how the next 82 games go.
What if Lonzo Ball is the real deal? The Lakers suddenly have a young franchise player that should not only help them take a step forward during his rookie season, but going forward. What if Brandon Ingram takes a gigantic stride in his development? The Lakers suddenly have the versatile two-way wing they’ve been dreaming of for years. The what ifs are aplenty with these Lakers, and that’s what’s so exciting.
We don’t know what’s in store for this group, led by the intoxicating vision of Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka. We’ve been sold the idea that a new generation of Lakerdom has arrived, and after all of the talk about what that means, it’s finally time to put it to the the test through the next few months.
The unknown is what makes this such an interesting season. In years past the team, and franchise, has remained more-or-less the same. Some of the names and faces have changed, but there’s absolutely been “searching for the light switch in pitch black” vibes. Johnson and Pelinka have laid out a reality where they are the ones who walked into the stunning new UCLA Health Training Center and hit the lights.
And hey, Maybe they have. Maybe the Lakers have the right mix of young talent to plug into the equation. Maybe Brook Lopez is the perfect center for the 2017-2018 Lakers. Maybe Kentavious Caldwell-Pope does make an impact on the Lakers defense. Maybe having a renewed focus on Lakers excellence, driven by new captains, is going to put the Lakers back on the highway of success. We really, truly, have no idea.
On-paper is a sham, and that’s a fact Lakers fans have known for years. We watched the on-paper Lakers, featuring Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Dwight Howard, get swept away from a playoff series they truly had no business being in. The current “on-paper Lakers” should be a breath of fresh air, but preseason was a stiff reminder that, once again, on-paper doesn’t equate to in-reality.
The 82-game journey can be an exhausting one, feeling the ups and downs of a team we watch every dribble of. There will be lows that feel like the bottom of the barrel, and highs that leave our post-game comment sections filled with only the finest memes and GIFarinos. Where the meter stops once the season is said and done is impossible to say, and quite frankly, who cares? We’ve spent an entire summer dissecting every nuance of this team. It’s finally time for actual basketball to be played, the reason we’re all here to begin with.
“First day of school” vibes are aplenty. The Lakers gear in our closets, the memorabilia we’ve gathered over the years, has a little extra pop to it. We don’t know if this really is a “new era” and what that means, but we do know that today is the true beginning of a new season of Lakers basketball.
Hopefully we can all enjoy a memorable season. Onward and upward.