The offseason is huge for young teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, and not just because they’re trying to lure superstars like LeBron James and Paul George in free agency. Regardless of whether those two come or not, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and the rest of the young core will have to improve.
Still, Los Angeles managed 35 wins this season, the team’s most since the 2012-13 campaign, and that was with Ball and Ingram missing the majority of the Lakers’ games down the stretch. In order to avoid those types of absences next year, Ingram offered some advice for Ball.
“Just work on his body. In both of our seasons this year, we missed a whole bunch of games. I think the main focus is to be on the court next year so you can really go out there and show your talent and how you can affect the team,” Ingram said.
“We have to play a little bit more so he can get used to the speed of the game so he can shoot the basketball better.”
Ball’s shooting was a topic of discussion at the Lakers’ exit interviews, with the rookie guard saying that while he would work on his shot over the summer, he wouldn’t tweak his form. It’s a decision Ball, the Lakers front office, and head coach Luke Walton agreed upon.
Even if that work without an overhaul in Ball’s mechanics doesn’t improve his percentages, Ingram provided a reminder of just how good Ball was even with an inconsistent jumper.
“He’s the head of our offense. I think he gets everybody in line to be open and know he’s going to penetrate the defense every single time,” Ingram explained. “He pushes our pace and plays the right way. He sees the game a little bit different every time he steps on the floor.”
As Ingram and Ball continue to develop chemistry, both of their individual improvements will fuel improvements in each other.
Ingram’s shooting ability helps space the floor for Ball to get more penetration, and Ball’s pace-pushing giving Ingram easy buckets on the break. Both of them will have to stay on the court for that tandem to work, and it sounds like that’s exactly what they’re focused on doing next season.