After an individual workout in front of Los Angeles Lakers brass — which included Magic Johnson, the player he patterned his game after — point guard Lonzo Ball reiterated his desire on Wednesday to play for his hometown team.
“Of course,” Ball answered during an eight-minute media session that followed the workout. “It’s home.”
Ball also said that if the Lakers pass on him, he would play for any team.
“I’ll go to any team and just do what I do,” Ball said. “Play basketball.”
This was the first and could be the only workout for the Chino Hills, California, native. One source told ESPN that the Lakers, who have the second pick in the June 22 draft, wanted to get a close look at his unorthodox shooting form. Ball said that a significant portion of the workout involved shooting.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) June 7, 2017
Boston general manager Danny Ainge recently said that Ball had declined to work out for the Celtics, despite a chance to be selected No. 1 overall.
“I got positive vibes,” Ball said of his workout. “It was a lot of fun.”
Despite playing in front of Johnson, the new Lakers boss and former NBA star, Ball said there were no nerves.
“I don’t get nervous playing basketball,” Ball said.
Ball’s Big Baller Brand shoes were not on display Wednesday when he worked out for the Lakers. Instead, Ball worked out in James Harden‘s signature Adidas shoe.
Ball’s ZO2 isn’t in mass production yet. He has said that his shoe is the only shoe he plans on wearing in the NBA.
Ball made the 50-mile trip Tuesday, had dinner in Venice with members of the organization, including Johnson, and then worked out for the team at 9:30 a.m. PT Wednesday. He will do medical testing Thursday morning before heading back home. He was not accompanied by his father, LaVar Ball, who has captured headlines with his lightning-rod personality.
Asked if Lakers brass asked about his dad, Lonzo Ball said: “They said they love him. That’s about it.”
Unlike his father, Ball is brief with his words. He answered in excess of 50 questions during the eight-minute media session, most with a single sentence.
Ball said the speculation that his father has been a distraction is nothing new, and won’t bother him in the NBA.
“They said that about me in high school, they said that about me in college,” Ball said. “I don’t think it will affect me.”
“Everyone has an opinion,” he added. “I know who I am. People who know me know who I am. That’s all that matters.”
The 6-foot-6 Ball averaged 14.6 points, 7.6 assists and 6.0 rebounds in his lone season at UCLA and shot 41 percent from beyond the arc. Ball said there’s no need to change the mechanics on his shot — as long as he continues to make shots.
“As long as it works,” he said.
Ball would come in and likely play point guard, shifting D’Angelo Russell off the ball.
“They need a leader,” Ball said when asked why the Lakers should draft him. “They need a point guard. I feel like I can fill that hole.”
Asked if he’s the best player in the draft, Ball didn’t mince his brief number of words.
“I think I am,” he said.