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Luke Walton on first season coaching Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball, Lakers

As the Los Angeles Lakers season got under wraps, head coach Luke Walton commended rookie Lonzo Ball for his performance this season, aware of all the scrutiny he’s faced from the media, fans, and pundits for his ups and downs in 2017-18.

“For a rookie, he did it all with a smile on his face,” said Walton, according to Ryan Ward of ClutchPoints. “He deserves a lot of credit for how he handled himself as a man.”

While Walton noted he wouldn’t want Ball to change his shooting form over the summer, president Magic Johnson would rather have him work on his body and become stronger — something that should pay dividends and help his league-worst finishing rate inside the paint.

Ball hasn’t been the only shining point this season, despite encouraging averages of 10.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 7.2 assists per game in his first year in the league, as rookies Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart have proven to be gold-mine selections for the franchise, showing their mettle as scoring options with the ability to shoot the three.

Both Kuzma and Hart see themselves bursting into All-Star caliber players with this team, a sign that has encouraged Walton and the rest of the staff.

“I love the fact they want to become those type of players,” said Walton.

The Lakers are bound to make big moves this offseason, with a strong foundation already laid out with a special rookie class and plenty of cap room available for incoming talent.