One of the things NBA rookies most-often mention as the most surreal parts of their debut seasons is the first time they get to suit up against NBA legends, the players they grew up watching.
Lonzo Ball hasn’t gotten to face down any of those players on an NBA floor just yet, but he did get to do so in the Lakers’ practice facility as he and other NBA players spend time training there in preparation for the NBA season.
“KD came up there to work out last week. I got to work out with him and that was cool. Him and Steve Nash,” Ball said during an appearance on “Marcellus and Kelvin” on ESPN Radio. “So that was a lot of fun and a good experience.”
Before anyone gets too excited, Durant was (most likely) not there because of his recent infatuation with all things Lakers. Tons of NBA players make their offseason homes in Los Angeles, and are allowed to use the closest team’s practice facility to stay in shape during the short summer.
Still, Ball getting a chance to work with two of the best players in NBA history (however briefly) can’t possibly be a bad thing. Like Nash, Ball is not a quick-twitch marvel who can burst by NBA players off the dribble. Similarly to the former Lakers floor general, Ball has relied much more often on his near-superhuman floor-reading skills and craftiness in order to dominate at every level he’s played so far.
Ball is also not a great pick-and-roll player yet, and Nash is arguably the best at the set in NBA history. It’s unknown whether that’s what they worked on, but Ball picking (and rolling?) the brain of Nash for some tips on how to run ball-screen-centric sets could only aid his development in this area, and if he becomes a dynamic pick-and-roll player, his ceiling ratchets up a few notches.
Durant is a less orthodox player for Ball to be learning from, but it still might help Ball to at least see the way Durant works in the offseason and learn from the overall professionalism that’s allowed Durant to improve his game every single season of his career so far.
Plus, we know Durant is a fan of Ball’s, so it seems likely he’d be happy to chat with the Lakers’ highly-touted rookie and fellow No. 2 pick about how to best find success in the NBA.
It’s impossible to know if anything will come from Ball’s interactions with either player, but with the offseason winding down it’s still interesting to learn about the opportunity Ball had to get an up-close-and-personal look at two greats.
Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here, or listen to our thoughts on what Lonzo could learn from Nash and Durant below), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.