Coming into this season there was a ton of pressure on Los Angeles Lakers second-year point guard Lonzo Ball. After an up-and-down rookie campaign, many were curious to see how he would progress and fit next to LeBron James.
So far in this early season, the results have been unclear. There have been clear positive steps taken in Ball’s development and while he has had some great games, he has disappeared in others. Lakers head coach Luke Walton is still looking for more consistency from his young guard.
“One of the hardest things in our league is the consistency part of it. For young players, you play 82 games and it’s bringing it every single night,” Walton noted. “I think Lonzo has made some really big strides as far as where he is as a player and he continues to work. He continues to get better.
“When he’s on and flowing, he’s a game-changing, game-winning player. There’s still other times where the game isn’t coming to him. That’s something he’ll keep getting better at, and we keep working with him.”
One facet in which Ball has improved has been in his mindset as he seems more aggressive overall on both ends. This is something Walton wants to see more of, but also remain in control. “We want him to be aggressive all the time [but] we don’t want him shooting just to take shots,” Walton said.
“He’s a brilliant playmaker and we want him getting in the other’s team lane, collapsing the defense. When he’s aggressive, wherever he is on the court, whether it’s defensive steals, strips, rebounds, that’s the type of player that helps us win games. That’s what we want him to do night in and night out. Whether it’s shooting or anything on the defensive end, just be aggressive.”
So far this season Ball is averaging 9.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists, but more importantly is shooting 43.7 percent from the field and 39.5 percent from three-point range. While he has struggled at times, Walton is still satisfied overall with how he has progressed this offseason.
“What you want once guys get the feel of the league is, get stronger, quicker and more explosive. He did all of that. That’s all he could do this (past) summer, and he did it. We’re totally fine with where he is as a player. We love that he’s on our team.”