The front office of the Los Angeles Lakers made a series of moves this offseason, capped off by the selection of Lonzo Ball during the 2017 NBA Draft. Along with Brook Lopez and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the revamped roster will attempt to make an immediate impact starting with the 2017-18 campaign.
With training camp approaching, the Lakers have been consistently preparing at the new UCLA Training Health Center. As they continue to work on their skill set, they also get a chance to acclimate themselves with their teammates and create some chemistry heading towards preseason.
Lopez, set to take on the primary center duties, offers a versatile offensive repertoire for head coach Luke Walton, especially alongside Ball. During a recent appearance on the ‘Popcorn Machine’ podcast, Lopez had high praise for his new point guard, impressed with his arsenal at such a young age:
“Just getting to know Zo, it’s really been exciting. Obviously getting to know him playing on the court and seeing how he thinks, how high a basketball IQ he has for a player at his position and experience, let alone just in general. It’s phenomenal. It was such a treat and pleasure getting to see him play in Summer League. I thought he elevated the team we had out there just so high.”
Heading into the season, Lopez and Ball will be focal points in the offense, especially in the pick-and-roll scenarios. With the ability to pop to the three-point line and finish strong at the rim, Lopez will be a valuable asset for Ball. The North Hollywood native continued his praise for Ball during the podcast, anxious to continue to build upon the strong base they have established:
“It’s really amazing. He impressed me with something new every day. I’m just so thrilled to get on the court with him and kind of learn on the fly. We’ve already talked about where he likes to throw the ball and where I like receiving it in the pick and roll. Just continuing to grow that relationship and really making a special bond that will translate onto the court and obviously lead to success.”
While rookies Ball, Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma acquaint themselves during their rookie campaigns, Lopez and Caldwell-Pope enter as veterans ready to make an immediate impact. With his ability to score in the paint and from beyond the arc, Lopez will be a key facet in spacing the floor for the new-look Lakers.
Pairing him with Ball is excellent for the Lakers as nothing is better for a young point guard than a reliable offensive option. Those two working great together could be the centerpiece for the Lakers’ offense this season.