New Coach. New Players. New Attitude: The Lakers Are Finally Smiling Again

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — The common belief behind rebuilding is that you have to hit rock bottom.

You have to feel so bad that you're truly motivated to feel good again.

Dig a deep ditch—then build the big building.

It's not necessarily true.

Rebuilding in sports can occur with the right talent, personality or break.

Or it can begin with the right feeling.

The Los Angeles Lakers finally have that right feeling.

All they want is to grow.

Therein you have the purest hope we can have in sports—or life, frankly.

Lakers media day on Monday was different than in past years. No Kobe Bryant. So, no stars, really.

Just the basketball equivalent of a bunch of gaffers and sound mixers and aspiring actors—and all of them smiling, the optimistic sort of expression you wear when you know the show today will be fun and trust that the show tomorrow will be a little better.

"It's a new everything when you walk in here," Nick Young said.

Indeed, most of these Lakers would be really, truly happy if L.A. won 30 games—because the young talent would have really, truly progressed.

When Young arrived in Los Angeles in 2013, he was flanked not just by Bryant but by Steve Nash and Pau Gasol.

That team won 27 games.

And it was absolutely maddening for the Purple and Gold.

Missing the playoffs hadn't happened for nine years. It had happened only twice in 37 years. Losing 55 games in a season had never happened.

It was unacceptable and embarrassing.

Except…the Lakers set new franchise records for losses in 2014-15 and 2015-16, which leads us to today.

The Lakers and their fans no longer want to be sad or mad. It's that simple. There has been too much of that by now. Too much frustration with old players and their injurie...

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