The Los Angeles Lakers young core has been on a rollercoaster ride throughout the 2018-19 season. Lonzo Ball went down with an ankle injury just as he established himself as a valuable do-everything point guard.
Kyle Kuzma struggled out of the gate before establishing himself as the second option behind LeBron James. Brandon Ingram’s recent hot stretch may salvage what was an extremely disappointing third season.
Josh Hart, meanwhile, has also dealt with injury, and is hoping to make a speedy recovery after receiving a PRP injection for knee tendinitis. Ivica Zubac, meanwhile, got traded to the Clippers after one of the best stretches of his career.
So much uncertainty surrounding the young core mounts pressure on head coach Luke Walton. None of the Lakers’ remaining young players were even on the roster when he was first hired.
However, Walton denied that he has changed his approach towards the less-experienced members of his team as pressure mounts to make the playoffs. “Not really,” Walton said.
“Some of that will depend on how the games are going, but the key for us and I think any good team that has success is you get lost in the process. You get lost in what we need to work on in practice. You get lost in the one game that you have ahead of you that one night. That level of focus has to be much greater for our team, but the overall prep, the overall messaging is going to stay the same.”
The Lakers started the second half with big games from Ingram and Kuzma that contributed to their win over the Houston Rockets. Ingram, in particular, excelled with 27 points and 13 rebounds, earning praise from James after the game.
However, Ball remains sidelined with a bone bruise in his sprained left ankle. His continued absence was further compounded by a frustrating loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, who rested Anthony Davis.
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