There is a general excitement about the Lakers that I, personally, have not felt in years. You may need to go back to the off-season of the Steve Nash and Dwight Howard acquisitions to find this amount of optimism about the direction of the team. Of course, that squad had championship aspirations while this team has an over/under win total of 33.5 by Vegas bookmakers. So, let’s be clear about what we’re actually discussing.
That said, people are eager to watch this team play. Including NBA TV games, the Lakers have the 5th most games on national television this year, trailing only the Warriors, Rockets, Cavs, and Thunder. Some of that is about the Lakers being a west coast team and the need to optimize viewing through having teams in the Pacific Time zone fill that 7:30pm – 10:00pm slot. This automatically means the Lakers will get some extra push. It also matters that they’re the Lakers and have a huge following regardless of how good they are.
But, I think it’s also reflective of the buzz which currently exists around this specific group. Call it the Lonzo effect, a desire to see Brandon Ingram develop, or just that they project to be a young and fun team — the interest is real.
And while this interest does reflect the Lakers looking like an up and coming team, I actually view this season as one of transition. The Lakers, at least for this year, occupy a peculiar space where they’re not projected to be that good, have few expectations to be anything besides a plucky team that plays fast, and are looking at a roster that has the chance to turnover by a fair amount within the next 12 months.