The Los Angeles Lakers have a better win-loss record during their first ten games last season. They even defeated the eventual NBA champion Golden State Warriors by a mile during this streak. Somehow, this was overshadowed by the team’s accomplishments early this season.

For a start, the Lakers have a new management: Earvin Magic Johnson as VP for basketball operations and Rob Pelinka as general manager. Second, they have two exciting rookies: Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma.

Next is that four of the five starters, including Ball and Kuzma, are newcomers: Brook Lopez and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, while Brandon Ingram is just in his second year.

And more importantly, the Los Angeles Lakers are starting to look like playoff contenders once again.

Overcoming rookie jitters

As the second overall pick in the last NBA Draft, Lonzo Ball has shown that he can play with the best point guards in the league. During the first three weeks of the 2017-18 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers' 20-year old rookie from Anaheim, CA has faced some of the elite court generals in the NBA: Washington Wizards’ John Wall, Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard, and just recently, Memphis Grizzlies’ Mike Conley.

“He’s my kind of player in a sense. I like guys who are unselfish, who [are] about the wins more than anything else,” Conley said about Ball right before the game as posted on LA Times. And the rookie proved him right, dishing out nine assists while Conley only managed to rack up three assists.

Rising to the occasion

After the game against the Grizzlies, Kyle Kuzma became the second-leading scorer (15.4 points per game) for the Los Angeles Lakers and third (6.3 rebounds per game) in the rebounding department. And in their last two outings, Lakers head coach Luke Walton made the right move in placing Kuzma at the starting power forward replacing the injured Larry Nance, Jr.

In his first stint as a starter, Kyle Kuzma piled up 21 points and 13 rebounds – his second double-double performance of his young NBA career. He followed it with another double-double performance against the Grizzlies with 13 points and 13 rebounds. It goes without saying that Kuzma’s MVP performance during the Summer League was no fluke.

The veterans

After his dismal performances against Utah Jazz and Detroit Pistons, Brook Lopez erupted with three successive 20+ point performances. Lopez’ transformation in the offensive end has worked wonders for the Lakers, dropping 10-of-15 three-pointers – six of them against his former team.

While showing off his newfound form, the Lakers center never failed to make his presence felt on the defensive end, averaging 1.6 blocks per game. But more than the numbers seen on the stat sheet, Lopez has contributed a lot of things. For instance, he has effectively used his big frame to set up picks to create open spaces for his teammates.

“We are happy with where we are at right now,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said after the game as posted on ESPN. “The fact that every night we are finding ways to compete and bring energy level to defend, ten games in, I wouldn't have thought honestly that we were ready to start doing that.”

Walton should be more than just happy; he should give himself a pat on the back. In their last two games, five players have consistently scored in double figures. With new faces comprising more than half of the team’s roster compared to last season, getting off to a great start is the right way to rebuild the Los Angeles Lakers.