The Los Angeles Lakers worked out Lonzo Ball last week. The team is still widely believed to favor the UCLA guard as their top pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, despite reports that there are differing opinions within the organization.
Ball reportedly did not wow the Lakers during his workout although that was to be expected in an individual setting. His skills are dependent on having teammates to run with and pass to, making an evaluation of Ball’s ability difficult in the manner in which he conducted his workout.
Nevertheless, more details are emerging regarding the workout including a somewhat troubling one from Mark Medina of the Orange County Register:
Many qualities have made the Lakers impressed with Ball, including his leadership potential, passing and scoring. They are not impressed, however, with his level of conditioning.
Some observers of Ball’s workout last Wednesday thought he came in out of shape. Ball acknowledged that the “drills get you tired, so you got to stay focused.”
In a vacuum, Ball’s conditioning may be a bit of a red flag. Being unable to show up in good shape for a draft workout could indicate a lack of maturity and professionalism that’s common among 19-year-old prospects but is nonetheless a bit disconcerting. That’s especially true considering vocal and public claims that Magic Johnson is looking to improve the conditioning of all of the Lakers’ players this offseason.
That said, Ball has not played competitive basketball in three months. Moreover, college players don’t have the same level of training and help that NBA players do to keep them in the best shape.
So while this is something to keep an eye on, Ball’s conditioning is not going to be something that sways the front office in one direction or another. And it shouldn’t be something that changes fans’ perception of the potential Lakers’ draft pick.