The Los Angeles Lakers returned to their practice floor on Monday morning, after winning their first preseason game in Las Vegas on Sunday night, against the Sacramento Kings. Neither Lonzo Ball or Brook Lopez practiced, and will not be available for Tuesday’s game.
Rookie Kyle Kuzma had another solid performance, finishing with 15 points (shooting 50 percent from the field) and eight rebounds, and head coach Luke Walton praised him for being able to recognize his advantages on the floor at such a young age.
However, second-year forward Brandon Ingram continued to struggle, finishing with just five points (1-6), five rebounds and four turnovers. His preseason stepbacks were a topic of conversation at practice, and Ingram did not sugar coat how he’s felt about his preseason play. Both Magic Johnson and Walton had some advice for Ingram. Check it all out in our notes and videos below.
Ingram on his preseason struggles: “I think it’s putting all this hard work in and wanting to show it on the basketball floor. I’m not relaxed, trying to go in and do everything I can to be an offensive scorer. I just need to take a step back…Everything is mental for me.”
Ingram on how his new shot form feels: “I’m a little uptight sometimes, because for me I’m thinking a lot on the basketball floor trying to make sure my teammates are good, trying to make sure I’m good, but overall on the offensive end, I’m just playing really bad, not making shots.”
Walton on Ingram’s struggles: “He wants to be great so bad and he’s worked so hard that he wants to show everyone how good he is, and I think because of that he’s had some possessions where he’s definitely trying to do too much, and my message to him is look we’re going to be together for a lot of years and you are going to be a great NBA player, so keep working the way you work and enjoy it, have fun with your young teammates and growing together and let the game just kinda come to you rather than go out there and force some things.”
Walton on Kuzma: “He’s proven nothing but the fact that he’s going to be a consistent player, so now, although I don’t think most rookies are consistent, he’s changed my mind as far as he’s concerned.”
– Lonzo Ball (ankle) and Andrew Bogut (groin) have been ruled out of Tuesday’s game.
– Brook Lopez says the plan for him is to increase his minutes in the Lakers next preseason games (he played 14 minutes on Sunday, 12 points).
– Walton says that experimenting with starting Kyle Kuzma is on the ‘debate table,’ but right now they like what he brings from the bench
– Walton said having Lopez back allows them to be more creative offensively, and as everyone gets more comfortable with one another, they’ll be able to take advantage of those situations more.
– Walton said Ingram came into camp ‘a little banged up,’ so he hasn’t been able to put in the pre and post-practice work that he was used to which could be affecting his game (Ingram didn’t agree though, or at least did not want to use that as an excuse).
– Walton wants Kyle Kuzma to work on late-game situations, understanding that you’ve got to rely on those second, third and fourth options in the offense (rather than just picking and popping).