EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Getting into what Magic Johnson instructed him shall be “the biggest summer” of his life, Lonzo Ball will work on however not alter his shot and he wasn’t too involved about what he confirmed LeBron James, Paul George and different potential free brokers in his rookie season.
“No, the way I play is to help my team win, I am not really worried about who is not here, I am worried about the guys that are here and I tried to do what I could and help my team out,” Ball stated when requested if he felt stress to point out star free brokers what he might do that season. “So, whether it be LeBron, Paul George or whoever, if they liked it, they liked it. If they didn’t, they didn’t, I can’t do anything about it now.”
Throughout the Los Angeles Lakers‘ exit interviews Thursday, Ball stated Johnson, the workforce president, and GM Rob Pelinka’s message to him was that this could be essentially the most essential summer time of his life. The 20-year-old should get stronger bodily after lacking 30 video games this season to shoulder and knee accidents. As for his taking pictures method, Ball stated he wouldn’t alter it in any approach and that he simply deliberate on engaged on it by way of repetition this summer time.
Johnson had stated earlier within the season that administration would see how the 6-foot-6 Ball shot the ball this season after which resolve whether or not the workforce wanted to tinker together with his distinctive taking pictures type. Ball averaged 10.2 factors, 7.2 assists, 6.9 rebounds and 1.7 steals whereas taking pictures 36 % from the sector and 30.5 % from past the arc.
“Shoot it with confidence for one and just keep putting the work in,” Ball stated when requested what Lakers brass instructed him about how you can enhance his taking pictures and if any adjustments could be made to his method. “Do not change your type or nothing. I’ve been taking pictures like that my entire life, they stated they’re advantageous with it.
“Simply be certain that I get the reps up. Simply excellent it just about. If you wish to be a very good shooter, you bought to shoot and begin making them and that can translate to the sport.”
Ball missed the ultimate eight video games of the season due to a left knee contusion however stated the damage was feeling higher. Ball, who additionally missed 15 video games earlier within the season due to a sprained left MCL, completed with 13 double-doubles and two triple-doubles as a rookie.
The Lakers are enthusiastic about Ball’s passing, rebounding, protection and skill to push the tempo. However Ball had stretches the place his shot was scorching after which ice chilly, and he has to develop extra offense off pick-and-rolls, drives and within the midrange recreation — all issues he stated he would work on this summer time.
The No. 2 general decide in final yr’s draft additionally needed to take care of fixed consideration surrounding his outspoken father LaVar, and even smaller issues like getting a haircut that went viral.
Ball stated his father was not a distraction this season. LaVar criticized Lakers coach Luke Walton earlier within the season and stated that the coach had misplaced the workforce throughout a nine-game shedding streak in early January.
However he did not make a lot noise relating to the Lakers after that, as he spent most of his time in Lithuania with Ball’s brothers, LiAngelo and LaMelo, who had been enjoying professionally there. Lonzo Ball was requested if he requested his father to tone issues down.
“Nope,” Ball said. “By no means inform him any of that. He just about does what he does and I do what I do.”
Requested if his father was ever a distraction, Ball added: “Nope. First yr was all me and it’s achieved now and on to the subsequent one.”
It’s a huge summer time for Ball and the Lakers. Johnson and Pelinka plan to pursue two max free brokers this summer time with James and George the largest targets in the event that they decide to contemplate the Lakers. Lakers administration has positioned the franchise to have the ability to probably clear as a lot as $70 million in cap area if restricted free agent Julius Randle doesn’t return and the Lakers discover a resolution, in all probability the stretch provision, to the $37 million owed to Luol Deng, in line with ESPN’s Bobby Marks.
The Lakers not solely will attempt to promote free brokers on enjoying in L.A. but in addition on their younger core of Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart that helped them end 35-47 — a nine-game enchancment from the season earlier than regardless of a rash of accidents.
Kuzma, who averaged 16.1 factors and 6.three rebounds as a rookie, stated that irrespective of who the Lakers get in free company this summer time, Ball is aware of he needs to be “deliver it” subsequent season.
“I believe he’ll assault his mentality,” Kuzma said when asked how his best friend on the team will go into the offseason. “There’s one factor he must do — for us to be nice, irrespective of who comes right here, every little thing goes to fall on his head irrespective of if it is a celebrity that comes or not. That is simply the truth we dwell in.
“For him and us, we all know he has to bring it next year and he will for sure.”