As the Lakers prepare to face the blinding speed of Washington point guard John Wall on Wednesday, Luke Walton reiterated his team’s need to crack down on transition defense.
“In my opinion he’s the fastest point guard — any player in the league — with the ball in his hands coast-to-coast,” Walton said at Tuesday’s practice. “We struggled a bit with (DeMarcus) Cousins and Anthony Davis going coast-to-coast on us.”
But for Walton, making sure the team is progressing is more important than worrying about game-to-game matchups.
He said that 90 percent of the Lakers’ Tuesday practice was spent on themselves, while the other 10 went to preparing for the Wizards.
“We try not to worry about our opponent,” Brandon Ingram said. “We try to worry about ourselves. How we can get going on the offensive end, how we can get into plays fluidly, how we can knock the (opponent) back defensively and try to get them out of their sets.”
That includes going back and watching some of the mistakes that were made during Sunday’s loss to New Orleans.
“When you go back and watch film, you just feel disgusted,” Ingram said. “You feel disgusted about the things we could have done better.”
While the Lakers’ focus is still mostly on themselves, there are some opponents that require a bit of extra attention. Wall — the first All-Star point guard that Lonzo Ball will face — is one of them.
“Certain guys you see on tape (and) see what they can do,” Ball said. “Then you get on the court and they’re still hard to stop. I know he’s very fast, so we’ve just got to get back there and build a wall.”
With all the hype that surrounds Ball — who is averaging the NBA’s fifth-most assists (8.7) — he knows that there will be opponents who try to show him up.
On Monday, Washington center Marcin Gortat tweeted that Wall will “torture (Ball) for 48min [sic].” But Ball claimed that he doesn’t “pay no mind” to what others say about him.
“Of course everyone’s gonna try to attack him because of who he is and what he does on the basketball floor,” Ingram said. “All we can do is have his back through everything.”