After being called out by Luke Walton after the Los Angeles Lakers were blown out in Minnesota by the Timberwolves, Lonzo Ball (and Brandon Ingram for that matter) responded with one of the better combined efforts of their time together.
Both guys spoke a little about how they responded, but Ball took his comments a little further, noting what exactly it was he did that made him so effective (via Spectrum SportsNet):
“(I) just had to be more aggressive. Shoot when I’m open and try to force the issue a little bit more.”
Ball remains as efficient off the court with quotes as he attempts to be on it.
Look, both Ball and Ingram’s performances against Dallas on Monday night were great, and yet another example of the flashes they’ve shown over the course of their young careers that have people so excited about their potential. But if they really want to take the next step, they’ll have to repeat that effort more often than they have to this point.
For Ball especially, he’ll have to realize soon that he can’t always rely on the people around him to light a fire under him. At some point, he’ll have to spark that flame by himself, and do it consistently.
From the Lakers’ perspective, they have to find a way to harness some of what they saw Monday night. It’s easy to say that a player needs to be aggressive, but they need to find specific ways to make that aggression effective. Otherwise, such aggressiveness just becomes aimless bashing of a forehead on the wall.
If Ball and Ingram are to replicate what they were able to do on Monday night, some combination of the last two paragraphs above will have to take place. They’ll have to find a way to rise to the occasion, without the situation getting so dire that Luke Walton has to call them out publicly and behind closed doors. Plus, the Lakers will have to point them in a direction that allows them to do so as efficiently and effectively as possible.
If all that takes place, the Lakers can really hit the ground running as guys return to full health and, if healthiness takes longer than expected, Ball and Ingram are better suited to carry the burden for as long as they need to.