Lawrence Murray ESPN.com
Lonzo Ball says that he's playing Thursday.
Lonzo Ball says that he's playing Thursday.
Rookie point guard Lonzo Ball admitted to being "a little rusty" as he finally returned to full practice, but says he'll be ready to play Thursday when the Lakers open their season against the Clippers.
Here are our top three storylines for the 2017-18 Los Angeles Lakers, along with an invitation for you to weigh in on how each will play out.
Lonzo Ball (ankle) did everything in practice today and wants to play Thursday. Barring setbacks, he should be ready for regular season opener.
Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma with the post practice halfcourt shot duel.
Andy and Brian discuss Brandon Ingram's slow start, make NBA predictions and celebrate the 20th anniversary of 'Boogie Nights.'
Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook gives the 76ers' Ben Simmons the best Rookie of Year odds (5-2), while William Hill's Nevada sportsbook has Lonzo Ball as a 9-5 favorite. Ball could become the first Laker to win the award since the franchise moved to Los Angeles.
Better days are surely ahead for the Lakers, though Lonzo Ball's first year with the team could be rough record-wise.
Julius Randle has a right intercostal strain and will be re-evaluated on Monday. He did not practice today but he was on court shooting free throws at end of practice. There's no practice tomorrow so he will get another day of rest. Randle had no soreness today though which is a good sign.
The Lakers waived Vander Blue, Travis Wear and Briante Weber to get roster down to 16.
Larry Nance Jr. knows he could be starting at power forward to open the season based on how his strengths complement Brook Lopez's perimeter game and Lonzo Ball's ability to push and create. "There is so much that goes into it," Nance said. "If it was strictly who was averaging most points, it's obvious. If it is strictly who is playing the best defense, there you go. Rebounds, there you go. If it was one thing specific, it would be very obvious but the reason why it is so jumbled, it is a lineup deal. We have a superstar center that somebody has to mesh with very well, offensively and defensively. That is what [Luke Walton] has been trying to do, figure out which personality and which play styles plays best with Brook. If that is me, great. If it's not, so be it. I am just ready to play my role, whatever it is."
Larry Nance Jr. got down on himself after a couple of turnovers early in the third quarter and Luke Walton told him to channel and re-direct his emotions. "I got to pull myself out of these little funks that I get in," Nance said. "At the same time energy is always there. I put in a whole lot of work. I am one heck of an offensive player. I really am. I just got to show it and have the confidence to show it."
Luke Walton's decision on who to start at power forward between Larry Nance Jr., Julius Randle and even Kyle Kuzma may be based more on who fits best with Lonzo Ball and Brook Lopez's perimeter shooting and who can fit best with the second unit and perhaps provide a punch. That could be why Nance has started the last three preseason games with Randle coming off bench. "It is more than who is playing better than the other two," Walton explained. "You got to think about making the second unit solid and a threat to be able to score enough and who plays well with Brook's shooting... Whoever ends up being that position for us, with the young team that we have, we expect there to be some leadership... they're going to have to be open and willing to do multiple things. There might be times when Julius might be playing the backup five and Kuz at four, and there might be times where Larry is at the five, and Julius at the four and Kuz at the three."
Julius Randle (back spasms) will not return to game tonight. Larry Nance Jr. started the game again at power forward and Luke Walton may be leaning toward starting Nance to go with Lonzo Ball, who might be able to facilitate easier baskets for Nance. Randle, who can score in a number of ways, could potentially give the Lakers more scoring off the bench if Walton opts to go that way.
The Lakers' preseason ends Friday night with Lonzo Ball limited to the first two of six games by an ankle injury. Coach Luke Walton is hopeful that the high-profile rookie from UCLA will be ready for the regular-season opener on Oct. 19 vs. the Clippers.
Lonzo Ball working on his handles before the game with assistant coach Miles Simon watching.
Lonzo Ball (ankle) is out tonight but he's going through a workout and moving well as he works on runners and moves.
The Clippers are resting many of their players tonight, including Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Danilo Gallinari, Austin Rivers, MilosTeodosic, Patrick Beverley and Sam Decker. Doc Rivers want to keep his guys from getting hurt and give his other injured players time to recover.
Luke Walton said Lonzo Ball reported that his ankle "feels good." "He was a little sore after yesterday's (workout)," Walton said after shootaround. "But he was in here again working out and then he went through all of shootaround." When asked if he is confident Ball will play in next Thursday's season opener, Walton was coy with the media. "Umm," an amused Walton said with a long pause. "Sure, yeah, I am confident." Ball will have 16 days to recover between his last preseason game on Oct. 2 and the season opener.