With the return of Magic Johnson to the Los Angeles Lakers as an advisor, the “Showtime” version of the team has understandably been on most fans mind.
It turns out it’s been on Lakers head coach Luke Walton’s mind as well, at least to some degree. He spoke to about the broad similarities between the two rosters after the Lakers’ practice on Tuesday (via Shahan Ahmed of NBCLA):
"There's similarities," Lakers coach Luke Walton said when pressed on what a return to "Showtime" could mean. "Obviously, the way that the 'Showtime' Lakers played and the up and down tempo, that's how we want to play. We want to get out. We have versatile forwards that can handle the ball. We got multiple wings that can bring it up. So, there's a similarity to the way we want to play with them."
Walton continued, "Obviously, the game's changed as far as the technical standpoint and the rules have changed so there's the things that are a lot different now, too, but it'd be a nice blend to be able to get some of that style into the way we play."
The “Showtime” Lakers earned their name for the ease with which they got out on the break, running down and around the opposition at ever opportunity.
The current Lakers have also played fast, ranking sixth in the NBA in pace while averaging 100.6 possessions per game.
Until the Lakers get a bit more effective on the break and learn to play better defense, which would lead to more stops and more opportunities to run, the pace with which the Lakers play will have to remain the primary point of comparison between the two teams.
If you squint on a night when the Lakers are wearing their throwbacks, however, you can almost see “Showtime” again.