Throughout the 2017-18 NBA season, much of the attention was on Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball was his poor shooting percentages.
Despite that, the front office and head coach Luke Walton don’t believe Ball needs to change his shooting form, but one major area of improvement they asked of Ball was reshaping his body. The directive was also given to Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma, among others.
In Ball’s rookie season, he missed 30 games due to various injuries. Lakers trainer Gunnar Peterson discussed how they smartly worked around the circumstances and his long-term message to all players, via Mike Trudell:
“Zo had some injuries, and during the season, he couldn’t just not lift, so we worked around it. I’m a fan of working around, not working through. If we can keep him working and change something to get him stronger, that’s the idea. So you may shift some of the movements to unilateral. You may shift some of the movements to body supported, or to single joint movement so it’s not going to affect the injured area. You can regress it if it’s a movement that requires weight, you go from body weight first, then progress to bands and eventually barbells, dumbbells, whatever the exercise may require.”
As Ball prepares for his sophomore season, Peterson revealed what they are focusing on:
“In terms of what we’ll work on, it’s overall strength, core strength, ankle stability and joints, just like the other young guys. Connective tissue strength, ligament tendon stability. For these guys, with their body length, you think about it like building a building. You’re supporting a structure as it’s going up. The foundation has to be strong, and the welds are solid, or else the higher you go, the more risk you have. And for the rookies especially, they’re tripling the work load and travel load from college.”
For Ball, his ability to remain on the court moving forward will be crucial as the Lakers struggled to win games without him. Brandon Ingram starting at point guard eventually solved some issues, but Ball’s ability to push the pace and making winning plays change the dynamic.
While the hope is the 20-year-old can stay relatively healthy, the Lakers do need to upgrade the backup point guard position. Depending on what happens in the 2018 NBA Draft and free agency, Isaiah Thomas could return on a one-year deal to provide experience and preserve cap space.