On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Lakers opened training camp with a practice that focused on teaching defensive principles.
"A lot of defense. Two hours of defense," Lonzo Ball, the rookie with star quality described his first practice. "Everybody was competing, which was great. Everybody was in on time and getting after it."
"Overall, I thought it was a pretty solid first practice," Lakers coach Luke Walton said. "The main themes, focuses of today’s practices were individual defense first, then team defense second, then transition defense after that and then finishing rebound—got to end every possession by finishing it off, by getting the ball."
Walton added, "We did different drills for all of those and made it competitive at the same time."
The team was scheduled back for a second session on Tuesday, and the two practices per day structure will repeat on Wednesday and Thursday, before a single practice on Friday to conclude camp. Four days of camp, of course, is a bit shorter than previous years.
"I've already made the decision that we're going to sacrifice some of what we would put in before our first game, as opposed to trying to get everything in," Walton shared that he had made concessions due to having a shorter camp. "There's a list of things that we want to get in before you play a game, and we're just not going to get to it all, and we're fine with that."
Walton said, "We're going to spend the days and practices we have focused on what we prioritize as the most important things we have to work on."
Of course, the flip side of not necessarily being fully prepared for preseason is that the Lakers have a six-day gap between their final preseason game on Oct. 13 and their regular season opener on Oct. 13—both against the LA Clippers. That extra time should afford the Lakers the opportunity to work out kinks and be ready for the regular season.
Of course, the Lakers have a young team and the development and improvement is a long distance run, not a 100-meter dash.
"Tonight is non-contact, so we're going to teach our players the structure of how we want to run," Walton shared that the principles of the team's transition from defense to offense will be put in for the first time.
Notes: Brook Lopez did not do any contact drills today. Andrew Bogut was unable to practice as his work visa is still being processed.
Quote of the day: "(Ivica) Zubac looked great. They took his body fat today and he’s down to eight percent, so that’s his new nickname ‘eight percent.'" – Walton, who said Zubac was at 19 percent body fat previously.