Former second overall pick Lonzo Ball had an up-and-down rookie season for the Los Angeles Lakers. Facing an immense amount of pressure not seen since LeBron James back in 2003, Ball showcased an excellent all-around game, amidst some obvious flaws.
Much of the criticism Ball received had to do with his jump shot, which was inconsistent at best. However, the biggest struggle for Lonzo was simply staying on the court. He missed 30 games total with seemingly minor injuries lingering on for weeks.
This is something the Lakers hope to fix this offseason. Appearing during ESPN’s coverage of the NBA Draft Combine, Lakers general manager Pelinka noted that while Ball is in excellent shape and condition, he needs to add strength to his frame:
“I think he’s actually a really good conditioned athlete in terms of he could run all game long and never get tired. His dad trained him on the hills of Chino Hills, so he’s greatly conditioned. Now he needs to match strength and just muscle mass, so that his body, when he takes a bump, doesn’t turn into five games, 10 games sitting out.”
This shouldn’t come as any surprise, especially considering Lonzo is just 20 years old. His body is still developing and he should be able to put on weight and muscle as he matures, in addition to putting in the work in the weight room.
Lakers trainer Gunnar Peterson noted that injuries forced the team to adjust the workout regimen for Ball, and it’s something they’re hoping to rectify with offseason workouts.
The Lakers are no stranger to this as they dealt with the same thing with Brandon Ingram just a year prior. Like Lonzo, Ingram struggled mightily with contact and physicality as a rookie, but came back much stronger a year later and the results were evident.
Ball has the potential to do the same thing and the Lakers undoubtedly have a plan in place to make sure he reaches that physical potential, which will help him stay on the court, and thrive on it.
Pelinka and Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson previously challenged Ball by calling this offseason the biggest of his life.
WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DISCUSSION? CHECK OUT THE NEW LAKERSNATION FORUM CLUB