The Los Angeles Lakers already had a new addition to the practice facility on Tuesday morning, after the retiring of Kobe Bryant’s jerseys, with No. 8 and No. 24 now shining alongside the rest of the Lakers greats.
Lonzo Ball said that Kyle Kuzma was the first to notice when he came in to practice and pointed it out to his fellow rookie teammate. Head coach Luke Walton reiterated what a special night it was for everyone, despite losing to the Golden State Warriors in overtime.
Interesting enough, Shaquille O’Neal was interviewing Kobe in Jeanie Buss’ office above, while practice with the new generation of Lakers carried on below.
With the news of Brook Lopez being out for at least three weeks with a moderate right ankle sprain, conversation began about who would start in his place.
Walton said there are still a lot of discussions to be had before they make that decision. One that has been made, however, is that Ivica Zubac will continue to stay with the South Bay Lakers, their G League affiliate.
Walton on the decision not to call Ivica Zubac up from the South Bay Lakers: “He’s going to stay down there for now, it’s important for him that he plays a lot of minutes, regains his confidence and stays sharp, because he’s worked so hard this season, and he just hasn’t been with our schedule, getting enough practice time and opportunities within a game, so we are going to leave him down there for now.”
Lonzo on feeling more confident with his shooting as of late: “I feel comfortable out there now, and I can feel it when it leaves my hands.”
Walton on Kuzma not caring about ‘moral victories’: “I love that, because from a players perspective, that’s where your mind should be. … As a player, it’s about wins and losses and you want to win and when you don’t win, food doesn’t taste that good for dinner, and you don’t sleep well. I love hearing that for him.”
Walton on Lonzo being aggressive at the end of the Warriors game: “It was awesome. If he took all those same shots and missed them all, I’m good with that, because we want him being aggressive. Sometimes he’ll get lost out there as far as looking for his own, and I think part of what is going to make him an even greater playmaker, is when he’s scoring the ball as well, and defenses can’t just play passing lanes.
– The Lakers are the only team shooting under 70% from the FT line this season (69.9%).
– The Lakers used to have to make 100 three-pointers (players that shoot threes) and 25 free throws before leaving practice. Today, that was upped to 100 made free throws per player before leaving the gym.
– Walton said he could sense that Lopez was frustrated, upset and a little ‘defeated’ since his ankle injury.
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