The Los Angeles Lakers have gone four years without making the playoffs, but there was a lot of optimism surrounding the team at Monday's media day.
"The whole mentality of this team has been flipped, we see that everyday," general manager Rob Pelinka said, per Serena Winters of Lakers Nation. "Young, scrappy and hungry. That is the identity of this Lakers team going into this season."
"The culture is changing," head coach Luke Walton said, per Anthony F. Irwin. "It takes time."
Los Angeles drafted Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 pick while adding veterans Brook Lopez and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, among others. With a talented young core already in place looking to get better, the squad believes it can contend for a playoff spot.
"I'm focused on making the playoffs," Ball said Monday, per Harrison Faigen of Lakers Nation.
NBATV captured more comments from the point guard:
The rookie also doesn't think the transition to the NBA will be too difficult after his All-American year at UCLA.
"Everybody on the team was the man wherever they came from," Ball said, per Faigen. "... I feel like it's a little bit easier because everybody is super talented."
The Lakers did spend a good amount of time pumping up each other:
The positive comments aren't surprising, but there seems to be genuine excitement about the changes to the roster.
Meanwhile, it has become impossible for anyone to ignore the social issues going on in the country, especially after President Donald Trump tweeted he had withdrawn his invitation for the Golden State Warriors to come to the White House.
Walton discussed his thoughts on potential protests, via Bill Oram of SoCal News Group:
On the other hand, there was also some levity throughout the day with smiling players getting excited about the start of the season:
For those wondering, Ball also came out wearing his own Big Baller Brand sneakers, via Arash Markazi of ESPN:
The Western Conference is loaded, and it won't be easy for the Lakers to jump from 26 wins to playoff contention in one year, but Monday's environment showed a positive atmosphere.