The Los Angeles Lakers wrapped up training camp on Friday, and Lonzo Ball continued to steal the show after the rookie went 6-0 in his six scrimmages on Wednesday and Thursday night. The 19-year-old already came to the Lakers with a great deal of hype, and thus far, he's living up to the lofty expectations of being the face of the franchise before even playing a single game.
Standing on the Lakers' new practice court in El Segundo, Lakers coach Luke Walton said he wasn't even sure if Ball took a single shot in the previous night's scrimmages, but the impact was surely felt. With Saturday in Anaheim presenting an exhibition contest to test Ball against a different team, Walton shared that he would be focusing on the rookie's performance defensively because offensively, the former UCLA Bruin has a natural ability to build chemistry with his teammates and improve everyone around him.
For the Lakers' coach, second-year forward Brandon Ingram offers a different point of focus. Defensively, Ingram was ahead of the curve in his first season as a professional, arguably the Lakers' best defender during the 2016-17 campaign.
"For Brandon, how he's running those lanes," Walton shared what he would look to break down in the film room following Saturday's preseason opener. "Is he putting pressure on the rim?"
Ingram has looked more aggressive in training camp and looked like he could be the team's best scorer in his NBA Summer League cameo a couple months earlier.
"Just being aggressive, on the offensive end, on the defensive end," Ingram shared his focus ahead of the preseason opener. "I'm just more excited about playing with our guys. The different style of play that we're trying to play, I think it's going to be fun for us."
With regards to his role with the team, Ingram shared that the coaching staff is still telling him to push the ball up and not necessarily look to Ball to push the break, which is a different directive than Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr. have been given by Walton and company.
Ingram clarified, "For me, every time Luke tells me to get the ball, he tells me to go (up the court). That's something I did last year, when I got it off the rim, try to take it the basket."
Ingram, Ball and the Lakers will open their preseason in Anaheim against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday. Tip-off is 7 p.m. Pacific Time.