Lonzo Ball: 'Just not doing my job'

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Coming off his worst two-game stretch of the young season, Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball said he's "not doing [his] job" and needs to get more "engaged."

A day after his worst game of the season, when he finished with four points, one rebound and one assist in a 124-120 loss at the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday, Ball said he has to find ways to jump-start his game. Ball typically is at his best when he is aggressive on the boards and active defensively.

"I just got to rebound the ball, get engaged, more energy, just do what I can to get myself going," Ball said Tuesday.

Asked whether not playing for five months due to a torn left meniscus this offseason was starting to catch up to him, Ball said no.

"Just not doing my job," Ball said.

After scoring seven points and grabbing four rebounds in the season opener, Ball averaged 13 points, 6.25 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 2.0 steals while shooting 10-for-23 (43.4 percent) from 3-point range during a four-game stretch.

During a win over the Denver Nuggets last week, Ball was a menace defensively as he collected 12 points, eight assists, six rebounds and five steals. He has been at his most engaged this season when he picked up opposing point guards full court periodically during games. After Ball's five-steal effort against the Nuggets, LeBron James said the second-year point guard doesn't get nearly enough credit for his defense and having some of the quickest hands in the league.

But in his past two starts, Ball has looked lackadaisical at times, totaling 10 points, four assists, three rebounds and four turnovers while shooting 2-for-9 (22.2 percent) from behind the arc in losses at San Antonio and Minnesota.

"There's different techniques, and we try them all," Lakers coach Luke Walton said of trying to get Ball more involved and engaged. "Whether it's being hard on him, encouraging him, running more plays for him. We see it. It's just something where he's a young point guard and we will continue to monitor and work on with him."

Meanwhile, veteran point guard Rajon Rondo is averaging 12.5 points, 6.5 assists and 5.0 rebounds while shooting 58.8 percent from the field in his two games back since serving a three-game suspension for his fight with Chris Paul and the Houston Rockets.

Walton would not say whether he will shake up his starting lineup again when the Lakers host the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.

The Lakers have been outscored by 44 points over the seven games with Ball on the court, according to ESPN Stats & Information tracking. And in the four games Rondo has played, the Lakers have outscored opponents by 17 points with Rondo on the floor.

"Get into the flow more," said Ball, who is averaging 9.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists this season after missing most of the offseason due to a meniscus injury that required surgery in mid-July. "Right after I get the rebound ... that's going to be big for us, getting the rebound and being able to push the ball like that. Hit open shots, play defense."

"Like I said: For me, it's going to start on defense, picking up [guards], getting some steals, rebounding the ball. When I do that, my shot starts falling, I feel more in the game."

Walton has been shuffling through a variety of lineups as he continues to search for the most effective combinations and develop team chemistry. Ball and the other Lakers know they have to produce to stay on the court with the increased depth on the roster this season.

Establishing consistency and continuity has been difficult for the Lakers thus far, especially with starters Rondo and Brandon Ingram serving multi-game suspensions early on.

"You can see that we're all still trying to figure it out," Ball said. "Lineups changing all the time, we have a lot of talent on this team. We know that, but we gotta all make it come together."

"We've just got so many guys," Ball added when asked about the difference between this season and last season when young players had room to grow and learn from their mistakes. "So if you're not doing your job, you're going to get pulled quick. Whoever's clicking that day is going to play."

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