The Lakers’ first scrimmaging session of the season was dominated by one team.
The unit of Lonzo Ball, Vander Blue, Corey Brewer, Kyle Kuzma, Thomas Bryant and V.J. Beachem reigned supreme among the three squads at Wednesday’s practice, finishing with a 3-0 record.
“(The scrimmages) were pretty fun for me,” Ball said on Thursday. “My team won, so I had a pretty good time. Everybody’s in here competing, getting after it, and it was fun.”
A key factor in the team’s success was the players’ familiarity from Summer League. Ball, Blue, Kuzma and Bryant all played together on the Lakers squad that won it all in Las Vegas two months ago.
“If you put five dogs out there, you’re going to get a W,” Blue said.
Head coach Luke Walton said that Ball was the one leading the way, while Julius Randle praised Bryant for his energetic play.
But Walton also hedged his praise by saying that the first scrimmages of the year were expectedly unsightly.
“It was pretty gross,” Walton said. “It was sloppy, but it was good for the guys. We kind of took some of the restrictions off and just let them get out and run. … It was kind of a chance to just let them get out and let it out and sprint up and down.”
However, Walton did allow that there were some positive takeaways from Wednesday.
“The first scrimmage of training camp is normally not something that is fun to watch on film,” Walton said. “The good things were that our guys gave effort again. Defensively, they looked good.
“We’re asking them to run at every opportunity just to build that mind set, so there were way more turnovers than we’d like. It was sloppy.”
Walton is serious about wanting his team constantly sprinting. It’s all about putting Ball, a fast-break maestro, in the most ideal situations for his skill set.
“I don’t think ‘too fast’ is a thing,” Ball said.
As for the Lakers’ half-court offense, that’s more of a work in progress.
With training camp shortened this year to five days before the preseason opener, Walton said it is “absolutely” harder to get his offense revving in time.
He said the offense will be “simple and basic” on Saturday in Anaheim, maintaining that the coaching staff doesn’t want to rush their process because of an exhibition game.
In the meantime, the players will continue to get after it in five-on-five scrimmaging. As the play becomes less sloppy, perhaps it will start meaning more to Walton.
“That was just like a gift to the players,” Walton said of the previous night. “I don’t even care about the scrimmage from last night.”
Settling in on day
A post shared by Los Angeles Lakers (@lakers) on Sep 27, 2017 at 6:54pm PDT