After losing to the Heat on Tuesday, the Lakers are 1-2 on their current road trip. Facing the Magic today, on the 2nd night of a back to back, is not an ideal way to try and reach .500 on the trip (and snag their 2nd win of the season), but it is the opportunity in front of them.
The Magic will not be a pushover. Like the Lakers, they have a collection of young talent and hired a disciplinarian coach to propel them forward in their rebuild, only they are farther ahead in the process. Last season yielded two lottery picks in Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton. Prior to netting those two, the Magic drafted Tobias Harris and Victor Oladipo plus snagged Nikola Vucevic in the deal which netted the Lakers Dwight Howard (Vucevic was in Philly and went to Orlando when the 76ers nabbed, gasp, Andrew Bynum). Add to them this year’s lottery pick Mario Henzoja and, well, this team is loaded with young players who can all play.
Adding Skiles is seen as the final piece to help the young players grown and realize some of their enormous potential. Skiles has a history of turning teams around quickly, getting through to them as a motivator and getting them to play well defensively. While Skiles was a showman and assist machine as a player, he is a hard-nosed coach who maxes out his players by inspiring them to play hard every night. The results so far are a 3-5 record and a competitive team who only has a -.6 point differential on the season.