The Los Angeles Lakers jumped out to a 10-10 start this season and some thought the learning curve for the young core under Luke Walton might be quicker than anticipated. Now, after a 5-21 stretch to drop them to 15-31, the Lakers appear to be who we thought they were.
That isn’t dampening the spirits of the Lakers’ most famous supporter, Magic Johnson.
Johnson has never been shy about sharing his feelings on the Lakers, from actively campaigning for Mike D’Antoni to be let go and gleefully celebrating his resignation to tweeting about who the team should pursue in free agency (which led to him losing a figurehead role with the team). While he’s been critical of the Lakers in recent years while the team has struggled to compete in the waning years of Kobe Bryant’s career and after, Johnson seems downright optimistic about the future of his former franchise.
Johnson spoke with Mark Medina of the Orange County Register on Tuesday night and called for patience, as difficult as it may be, from the Lakers faithful.
“Fans have to be encouraged, but Lakers fans are tired of losing,” Johnson told Medina. “We’re trying as Lakers fans to still be patient. But it’s hard. We have to wait some more?”
Among the things that has Johnson most encouraged is the job done by first-year coach Luke Walton. Johnson has never been afraid to criticize a Lakers coach in the post-Phil Jackson era, so for him to have praise for Walton is something relatively significant.
“Luke has designed a really good offense to fit the talent that we have. Everybody can really flourish in his offense,” Johnson said. “He’s put a lot of trust in the young guys. For the young players, you can also see that they trust him.”