After a horrible month of December in which the Los Angeles Lakers were the fourth-worst defensive team in the league and lost 11 of their last 12 games, it would be understandable for the mood around the roster to foul dour.
It might be expected, even. Particular after a shellacking at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder. However, rookie guard Lonzo Ball says that’s not the case. “I would expect them to have a change, but in practice it doesn’t look like anything is changing,” Ball said.
“They still come out here and everybody is still competing every time. I think if we keep doing that, we’ll be OK.”
The Lakers looked far from OK while losing their last eight games, the last six of which saw them get defeated by double-digits.
But with Ball returning and Brook Lopez back in the lineup, health is beginning to swing back in the Lakers’ favor.
Still, the Lakers can point to all the positive developments they want, but until they start winning some games things are going to be frustrating.
Lakers head coach Luke Walton believes that’s a good thing. “You don’t stop getting frustrated. It is frustrating to lose,” Walton said.
“I believe in this group and I believe in with repetition, hard work and unselfish players, good things will happen. It takes time, it takes patience, and it takes commitment. I think we have all those things with these guys.”
The Lakers certainly seem to have that in Ball, who has been lauded since joining the team (and even before) for the selfless attitude he can’t help but infect every team he joins with, and it’s a mindset he’s hoping to bring back when he returns to the lineup.
“They still come in here every day and work, and I see that. (We) just have to stay positive and try to turn this thing around,” Ball said.
Walton isn’t worried about being able to turn things around, because he trusts the character of not just Ball, but his whole team.
“To me, it always comes back to hard work and honesty with what we’re doing. When you work hard and you have a group that is believing in themselves, it will fix itself,” Walton said. “It is hard, it is frustrating. But until I come into practice and see our guys decided to stop working hard, that’s when I’ll be worried.
“That’s not the case with us. Come in today, and it was as competitive as it’s been since Day 1, so we’ll be fine.”
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