From LaVar Ball’s negative comments about Luke Walton to Lonzo Ball then having to answer questions about his father’s comments, there has been a lot of outside noise surrounding the the Los Angeles Lakers this week.
At Monday’s practice, head coach Luke Walton said they discuss those distractions as a team and acknowledge that they are real, but that they also focus on how to not be influenced by external factors. One of the things Walton does is caution players about how much they use social media.
“It’s obviously good for some things, it connects people, connects fans and players, players can build their brands,” Walton said. “At the same time, I caution athletes to really watch how much they’re on it.
“Whether you want to tell yourself or not that you believe what some random people are saying about you, just reading it reinforces the thoughts in the back of your head. It is a challenge but a reality at the same time. We deal with it.”
Rookie Kyle Kuzma addressed what it’s like to be caught in the middle of the LaVar-Walton dynamic and also took it as an opportunity to back his head coach. “It’s just a lot of white noise in a sense,” Kuzma said.
“Luke is my guy, I love playing for him. I’m sure most of us love playing for him, too. We stand by Luke. I know the front office does.”
LaVar made headlines again this week when he made comments that Walton had ‘lost the locker room.’ Kuzma didn’t agree with that notion.
“Yeah, it was upsetting,” Kuzma said upon hearing that. “I don’t think that’s the case. We lose games. At the end of the day, Luke isn’t the one going out, shooting 2-for-15, turning the ball over or missing free throws. That’s us. You can’t blame the coaching staff for everything, it’s mutual. Players mess up, coaches mess up. We as a team have to be more accountable.”
Kuzma also touched on how much social media comes into play and how difficult it is to block out all the distractions. “It’s kind of hard in our society. Social media is so big in our lives, it’s all over the place,” he said.
“ESPN puts out anything for clicks now, it kind of seems like. It’s all over the place, you can’t really hide from it. It’s just a thing you have to deal with and just move past it. No other generation of NBA players have had to deal with what we have to deal with in our era. It’s a little different, but you just have to try and block it out as much as you can.”
The Lakers take on the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night, after breaking their nine-game losing streak on Sunday, in their win over the Atlanta Hawks.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has also cleared up all of his legal matters and will resume a normal schedule with the team.
WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DISCUSSION? CHECK OUT THE NEW LAKERSNATION FORUM CLUB