There was a report Friday that the Los Angeles Lakers weren’t “blown away” by Lonzo Ball’s pre-draft workout with the team, and it might have been because he couldn’t stop blowing out air.
According to Mark Medina of the Southern California News Group, the Lakers were “not impressed” with Ball’s “level of conditioning” at his workout.
Medina reports that “some observers of Ball’s workout last Wednesday thought he came in out of shape,” although he added that “the Lakers are mindful of not overreacting to individual workouts.”
This is a surprising report, given that Ball helped push UCLA to the 20th-highest adjusted tempo of the 351 Division I basketball teams measured by NCAA advanced statistics site Kenpom. UCLA ran down its opponents throats for the second-best adjusted offensive efficiency in the nation (124 points per 100 possessions), meaning Ball was in pretty good shape during the season.
However, UCLA lost to Kentucky in the NCAA tournament over two months ago, meaning it’s been weeks since Ball last played competitive basketball against other high-level prospects in any official setting.
Combine that with the fact that he likely had to rest the hamstring injury he was reportedly playing through in that game, and it’s actually not that surprising Ball might not be in tip-top shape right now.
All that context aside, given how much bluster has come from his camp about how he is the right pick for the Lakers, Ball’s reported conditioning issues came at just about the worst possible time.
Here is an updating list of every player the Lakers have worked out or met with. Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here, or listen to our latest episode on whether or not Ball’s conditioning matters below), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.