MOTIVATION
Lakers’ Lonzo Ball views triple-double praise from LeBron James as ‘motivation’ to improve

lonzo-getty

PHOENIX — For more than 12 years, LeBron James held the record for youngest player to achieve a triple-double. When Lonzo Ball finally eclipsed the mark by five days on Saturday, the four-time Most Valuable Player was nothing short of impressed.

“First of all, congratulations to him,” James told reporters Monday morning in New York. “I think he’s going to be a really, really good point guard in our league. Probably a great point guard if he continues to work on his craft, which it seems like he does. They got a good one.”

When word of the compliment reached Ball following shootaround in Phoenix, he said it gave him “motivation” to continue to improve.

“If he says that it’s like an honor,” Ball said. “So I’m going to work and keep trying to get better every day.”

In a 98-90 loss to Milwaukee, Ball finished with 19 points, 13 assists, 12 rebounds, three steals and three blocked shots. On Monday, the Lakers corrected his numbers to reflect that the official box score from Saturday originally shorted Ball a rebound and gave him an extra block.

James has long been linked to the Lakers as a free agent target in 2018, and him showering Ball with praise will only fuel those rumors. On Ball’s 20th birthday last month, James tweeted birthday wishes to “the young King.”

Ball learning of James’ comments well after the fact was consistent for the rookie sensation. Not until a Lakers media relations executive informed him Monday morning did Ball know that President Trump had urged the president of China to assist in expediting the release of three UCLA basketball players facing shoplifting allegations, a group that includes LiAngelo Ball.

Lonzo Ball said he avoids social media and has disabled push notifications on his phone, allowing him to avoid much of the news that he and has family make.

“I usually just stay off of it,” he said, “so if you don’t go on it you can’t see it.”

HOME AT LAST

Veteran players know that seven days away from home in the NBA is a fairly routine trip.

The Lakers, however, have two rookies, Ball and Kuzma, in their starting lineup while another, Josh Hart, had played meaningful minutes for most of the season.

They’ve never been on a trip like the one the Lakers concluded Monday, jetting from L.A. to Boston to Washington to Milwaukee to Phoenix.

“Going and doing it is the best way to learn it,” Coach Luke Walton said.

Learning to handle such a grind is largely a solitary exercise, although the Lakers have emphasized team building with the “escape room” outing Milwaukee. On Sunday night, Walton said, “the bigs” all went to dinner together.

“As much as we tell them and we try to give them suggestions on what they need to do, unless they are serious on doing it themselves, it is going to take a lot longer,” Walton said. “And we’ve got a young group that is really serious about becoming good and winning.”

The Lakers lost the first three games of the trip, which all came against 2017 Eastern Conference playoff teams.

Like the Lakers, the Suns are among the youngest teams in the NBA. Interim head coach Jay Triano said it can be the job of veterans to help young players prepare for the road.

“I don’t think there’s any way you can tell a guy that we have four games this week, pace yourself,” Triano said. “You can’t do that. The veteran guys build up an ability to be effective four games in a row, where young guys might play well one game and have a drop-off one game.”

Source:-.ocregister

About the author

Related Post