2017 Draft Workout: Lonzo Ball
One of the most heralded players in this year’s draft, UCLA’s Lonzo Ball got to show off his talents in person, as he worked out at the Lakers’ practice facility on Wednesday.
President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson, general manager Rob Pelinka and head coach Luke Walton were among the brass that oversaw the 6-foot-6 point guard’s individual session.
Afterward, Ball spoke to the media about a variety of topics, including his skill set, mentality and relationship with the Lakers.
Below is a full transcription from El Segundo:
Q: On his workout with the Lakers:
Ball: I thought it was a lot of fun. It got me tired. I’m gonna sleep for the rest of the day.
Q: On if he was nervous about the workout:
Ball: No, I don’t get nervous when I play basketball.
Q: On if he was surprised by any of the drills:
Ball: No, the drills get you tired and you’ve just got to stay focused.
Q: On what he felt he was best at in the workout:
Ball: I try not to pick just one thing out of my game. I just try to get the whole thing done, and I’m glad I came in. It was a lot of fun.
Q: On how much shooting took place:
Ball: It was a lot of shooting, a lot of pivots, a lot of pull-ups — typical shooting drills.
Q: On meeting with Magic Johnson, Rob Pelinka and Luke Walton the day before:
Ball: It was a good dinner. A lot of fun meeting Magic and the coaches for the first time. I’m glad I came.
Q: On what feedback he received after his workout:
Ball: Just positive vibes. Like I said, I had a lot of fun. It was great meeting everybody here and very welcoming.
Q: On if he wants to play for the Lakers:
Ball: Of course. I want to stay home.
Q: On if he grew up watching Magic Johnson:
Ball: Yeah, my dad loved him and loved the way the Lakers played. I kind of patterned my game after that.
Q: On what he thinks he can bring to the Lakers:
Ball: They have a lot of good players. I just think they need a leader, a point guard. I feel like I can bring that to the team.
Q: On what leadership qualities he has:
Ball: Just bringing in a winning attitude. Everybody banding together and getting this done together.
Q: On if the Lakers gave him any assurance about them drafting him:
Ball: Pops is worrying about that. It was kinda me meeting them, them meeting me. Like I said, it was a fun atmosphere and I’m glad I got to do it.
Q: On what made the workout so fun:
Ball: Magic Johnson is one of the greatest players to ever play, and I love the way that Coach Walton coaches, and Rob’s a good dude, too. So meeting all of them was a blessing.
Q: On how he sees his skill set meshing with the Lakers’ current roster:
Ball: Like I said, they’re young, I’m young. I see they like to run, I love to run. So I think we can complement each other very well.
Q: On those who think that his father, LaVar, could be a distraction if he is drafted to the Lakers:
Ball: They said that about me in high school and they said that about me in college. I don’t think it will affect me.
Q: On what he thought he did best at in the workout:
Ball: Like I said, I can’t pick one thing out. It gets you tired. It’s a lot of fun. Just being able to play basketball at the Lakers’ facility is a blessing.
Q: On the feedback he received after the workout:
Ball: Like I said, positive feedback. A lot of tips, a lot of helpful hints. I’m just grateful for it.
Q: On who was watching the workout:
Ball: Coaching staff, Magic Johnson.
Q: On if he was awed by being in the Lakers’ practice facility:
Ball: No, I’m from here so I know about all the championships, all the trophies. I’m not really in awe. I’m just grateful to be in here.
Q: On if he believes that his father’s outspokenness can create misperceptions about himself:
Ball: Everybody has an opinion. I know who I am. People who know me know who I am. That’s all that matters.
Q: On his comfortability in the pick-and-roll, considering it wasn’t ran much at UCLA:
Ball: I feel great in pick-and-roll. … I can read a defense pretty well, so I won’t have any problems with it.
Q: On leadership:
Ball: I think a lot of it is natural. I think you’re either born a leader or you’re not.
Q: On advice given to him by Johnson:
Ball: A lot of stuff I can do on the court, how to help guys off the court. And he’s the best point guard to ever play, so I can learn a lot of things from him.
Q: On how he modeled his game after Johnson:
Ball: He’s a big point guard, I’m a big point guard. He likes to push it, I like to push it. He likes to pass, I like to pass.
Q: On if he went to a lot of Lakers games growing up:
Ball: I never went to the games. My dad didn’t really like the seats because I guess they’re too small for him. I usually just watched in the living room with him.
Q: On if he thinks that the Lakers need him:
Ball: I feel like I can come to any team and help.
Q: On the amount of media attention he gets:
Ball: I’m kind of used to it by now.
Q: On if he plans to work out for any other teams.
Ball: I leave that up to my agent. Whatever he tells me to do, I do.
Q: On when he started receiving a huge amount of media attention:
Ball: Probably the first game at UCLA. After that it’s kind of been like this every time.
Q: On if the Lakers don’t draft him:
Ball: Like I said, I’ll go to any team and just do what I do and play basketball.
Q: On if he wants to change the Lakers’ culture, like he did at UCLA:
Ball: Everything you do, you’ve got to do it for the team. Bring a winning atmosphere in here — I think I can do that.
Q: On why the Lakers should draft him:
Ball: Like I said, they need a leader. They need a point guard. I feel like I can fill that hole.
Q: On how much an individual workout can show to the Lakers:
Ball: I don’t know how to answer that. I guess it kind of matters, it kind of doesn’t. It just depends on who you ask. I’m just grateful for being here around the people, showing what I can do. [I’ll] just let the chips fall where they may.
Q: On what he wanted to get out of the workout:
Ball: The workout was just me coming in here doing what I love to do, with people helping me. It was my first workout, and I’m proud I got to come in here.
On if he was nervous considering it was the Lakers:
Ball: I don’t get nervous when I play basketball.
Q: On if off-court circumstances can make him a target on the court to opponents:
Ball: It definitely doesn’t help, definitely makes it a little bit harder. But any good player is going to have attention on them at all times and I’m pretty used to it by now.
Q: On his Draft Day plans:
Ball: I’ll be at the Draft with a lot of my family. I’m looking forward to having a good time.
Q: On what Johnson, Pelinka and Walton conveyed to Ball at their Tuesday evening dinner:
Ball: They said they want me to come in, if I get picked, and be a leader. Play with a lot of pace. The stuff they were saying was very positive, and it kind of fits my game.
Q: More on that conversation:
Ball: They just wanted to know what type of person I am. I never met them, they never met me, and it was the first time. It was a good sit down dinner. I had a lot of fun.
Q: On what kind of person he is:
Ball: Calm, mellow, off the court, on the court. I just want to win.
Q: On if they asked about his dad:
Ball: They said they love him. That’s about it.
Q: On his impressions of the Lakers’ brass:
Ball: They seemed like great guys. I’m grateful I got to meet them. It was a lot of fun sitting down with them and talking. I didn’t look at them as coaches, I looked at them as friends, so, it was a lot of fun.
Q: On finding his love for basketball:
Ball: Since I started playing when I was 6. There was something about having the ball in my hand. Everything kind of stops. Ever since then, I’ve been playing with passion.
Q: On developing court vision:
Ball: My dad asked me what position I wanted to play. I said point guard. He was like, ‘All right, if you’re gonna play point guard, you gotta get the ball up,' and ever since then I’ve just been passing.
Q: On if he’s talked to any of the Lakers young players:
Ball: No, I have not.
Q: On meeting Magic:
Ball: It was a blessing. Best point guard to ever play. Me being a point guard, I looked up to him my whole life. To finally get a chance to meet him, it’s just a blessing.
Q: On what he learned about the NBA today:
Ball: You definitely gotta be in shape. It’s a lot of stamina stuff. As long as you stay focused and do everything with pace, you should be all right.
Q: On his defense:
Ball: I think I’ll be fine defensively in the league. I think I can guard one through three.
Q: On what areas of his game he should work the most on:
Ball: You can always work on everything. But for me, probably just strength, get stronger and the mid-game pull-up stuff.
Q: On his shot mechanics:
Ball: As long as it works, I’m going to keep using it.
Q: On if he’s the best player in the Draft:
Ball: I think I am.