Los Angeles Lakers No. 2 draft pick Lonzo Ball was back at practice on Thursday morning and participated in everything except 5-on-5 scrimmaging, but his status still remains questionable for Friday’s final preseason game against the L.A. Clippers.
Alex Caruso has filled in quite well as the Lakers backup point guard, amidst Ball’s absence, finishing with 10 assists against the Utah Jazz (the most off the bench in the preseason). Currently signed to a two-way contract, although Caruso would love to earn the Lakers fifteenth roster spot, he says he’s also a ‘realist,’ and is happy to fill whatever role is needed of him.
Walton says to expect different lineups on Friday, as they continue to shape out the rotations before the start of the regular season. For more from practice, check out all of our notes, quotes and videos below.
Walton on the biggest thing they miss without Lonzo: “The thing that makes him special his ability to make everyone on the court a threat at all times.”
Walton on Lonzo being out for so much of preseason: “It’s a setback for sure. They need the time on the floor together, but the good thing for us, is we do have a week from our game…there’s a good amount of practice we’ll get in, and as long as he’s able to practice, we should be able to get a lot of reps and scrimmage time to try to make up for that.”
Alex Caruso on his recent opportunities: “I think each game and minute that I’m on the court, is just growing in confidence, in comfortability running the team, realizing how cool it is to play in the NBA and what I’m capable of doing…That’s what backup point guards are supposed to do, be solid, run the show, and the more I do that, the more confidence he’ll (Walton) have in me.”
Caruso on whether he has his eyes set on getting the Lakers final roster spot: “Yeah, that’s the goal, so you’re not coming in and settling for where you’re at…but I’m a realist, I come in everyday ready to work, fitting into my role, whatever it is. If it comes, it comes and if not, I’m back to where I am and I’m just back to working hard.”
Lonzo on Caruso: “That’s my man, he’s going to come in here and give you what he got every game, just a walking bucket.”
– Caruso said he chats with Lonzo a lot during games, mostly relying on him for tips on reading the defense (since it’s so much easier to read the defense when you’re off the court)
– Andrew Bogut (groin) still has not been cleared to practice
– The Lakers had a 3-on-3 tournament at practice yesterday
– Kareem Abdul-Jabbar visited yesterday’s practice and spoke with the team, told them to stay positive, not worry about distractions, stay together and move as one.
– Lonzo’s philosophies on injuries have changed, said when his dad coached him there was really no such thing as being hurt…it’s different now that this is his job.
– Lonzo and Kyle Kuzma participated in a half-court shootout (check it out in our videos below).