The Los Angeles Lakers have made a habit out of finding talent late in the NBA Draft. Over the past few seasons they have added Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., Ivica Zubac, Josh Hart, Thomas Bryant and Kyle Kuzma, with each selected either at the end of the first round or in the second round.
These kinds of finds can make a big difference in the team’s rebuilding process. For example, Hart, who was selected with the 30th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, impressed during his rookie season.
He gives the Lakers the kind of flexibility on the wing that teams are coveting these days. Hart and the rest of the team’s remaining diamonds in the rough are already hard at work preparing for next season.
Lakers trainer Gunnar Peterson took a moment with NBA.com to explain how he’s trying to help Hart avoid injuries, which the team struggled with last season:
Ankle mobility, flexibility, cardiovascular capacity and core strength. Those would be things we’d focus on, or want Josh to focus on when he’s outside of here, as well as any of the other things that go along with the training program, like overall strength, core strength and so on. We do a fair amount of work on unstable surfaces, going from a stable surface to the unstable surface so that it can translate to a game, like if a player stepped on another player’s foot going for a rebound, where it’s going from stable to uneven and the ankle has to react. We want Josh’s ankle to know what that’s like. The idea is that you set them up under load, in the weight room, for what’s possibly going to happen on the court with no load, they’re going to be fine.
The Lakers saw key players like Hart, Lonzo Ball, and Brandon Ingram miss extended periods of time last season, which negatively impacted their win total. The season was still a success overall, but if they hope to improve next season they will need to find a way to stay healthy.
If Peterson’s techniques can help them avoid injuries then the Lakers could make some real noise next season as they continue to grow and develop.
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