EL SEGUNDO – The story goes that Lonzo Ball has been told since he was little that he would one day play for the Los Angeles Lakers. That day officially came Tuesday, but if Ball was affected by the weight of the moment, he didn’t show it.
It began with his customary breakfast of waffles and eggs – sunny side up. By the time he entered the UCLA Health Training Center there was only the faintest note that Tuesday was different from the dozens of optional workouts he and most of his teammates participated in over the summer.
“Everybody was anxious to get out there and get it all started,” he said, “so that’s probably the only difference. Guys were still working hard.”
Ball said his first practice with the Lakers was “a lot more physical” than what he experienced at UCLA.
Among the 20 players on the Lakers’ training camp roster, Ball said, the excitement was palpable.
“You could see the smiles,” Ball said. “Everybody was ready to get after it. Even after the stretch from this morning, everybody was ready to go.”
With an early emphasis on defense, Ball said he still needs to better understand rotations and learn Coach Luke Walton’s terminology. But as far as his teammates learning to play at his pace and to look for his passes, that may already have been taken care of.
“I think the workouts in the summer kind of put the foundation there,” Ball said. “Obviously you can get better and work on stuff, but definitely (already) got a feel for each other.”
Much of the style Walton wants the Lakers to play is intrinsic to Ball’s personal pizzazz, although Walton stressed that the young Lakers “need to be led and shown what to do as far as giving freedom, but having a format behind it.”
“I think players are naturally going to play a certain style like we saw in summer league, with Lonzo playing and how much he moves the ball,” Walton said. Still, he added, “a lot of it has to be taught by us.”
NEW BODY, NEW NICKNAME FOR ZUBAC
A sobriquet has been bestowed upon second-year center Ivica Zubac around the Lakers practice facility: 8-Percent.
“They took his body fat today,” Walton said. “He’s down to 8 percent, so that’s his new nickname.”
A year ago, Zubac checked in at 19 percent body fat, Walton said. When Zubac reminded his coach of that, Walton responded, “I know. I was making fun of you for that.”
Zubac is likely to back up Brook Lopez at the start of the season, although Lopez is dealing with…