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Ohm Youngmisuk ESPN Staff Writer 

Lonzo Ball says if he made more shots, that could've changed much of the narrative of how his rookie season was perceived by some. He believes confidence will be big for him this season. "Last year was full of ups and downs for me," Ball said of what he learned from last season. "I think just stay closer to the people that really care about you and stay true to the team are big things. And personal goals, my shot last year could have fixed a lot of things. I think if I was making shots, a lot of people wouldn't have a lot of things to say. That is pretty much the main thing."

Ohm Youngmisuk ESPN Staff Writer 

Lonzo Ball on how added strength is helping his shooting form: "Everybody is saying my jump shot [is] this new thing. To me, it [has] not really changed a lot. I just think I got a lot stronger. So I ain't got to really fling the ball like I did last year. [The set point] moved a little bit more to the middle but it is still on the left side. But just trying to focus on my mechanics, keeping my hand up, keeping my elbow in more and just me being stronger, my upper body, it's just easier for me to get to the rim."

Ian Begley ESPN Staff Writer 

Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni with some high praise for forward P.J. Tucker: "To me, P.J. Tucker is one of the best players in the league," D'Antoni told reporters on Monday. "I know a lot of people will go 'whoaaaa.' He was (ranked) like 80-something. I don't know what it was. You're kidding me. This guy plays maybe the best defense in the league. That's half the game right there. He might be the best. If not, he's one of the top five. Now you got a guy that shot since he started 42 percent from 3s, 47 in the playoffs. Really? There's a lot of guys that shot better than that? A guy that will get every loose ball, every chemistry thing, every play he's playing all out. I don't know how we judge people. What is the criteria for being a great player? That is a great player."

 

Pop on Manu Ginobili attending last week's coaches retreat: “He wanted to know no less than 14 things that I do, and he wanted to know why I did them. He thought they were baloney the whole time he was here, but he was too respectful to say. He was a great addition [at the coaches retreat] because he was smart enough to listen in the beginning. It's like a new job in a way. You listen, and you figure out the lay of the land. He did that. Then as it went along and we got to dinner on the first day, he started to open up. By the second, third, fourth day, he was right in the middle of arguing about everything. It was great to have him because his insights are so good.”

Ohm Youngmisuk ESPN Staff Writer 

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope says the Lakers "should definitely take it personal" when people believe the Lakers don't have any perimeter shooting specialists. The Lakers are banking on Caldwell-Pope, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma to improve from the perimeter and rookie Svi Mykhailiuk has seriously impressed the Lakers coaching staff and management with his shooting. It remains to be seen if the rookie will be able to earn minutes and stay on the floor.

Ohm Youngmisuk ESPN Staff Writer 

Kyle Kuzma says "the knock on me" as a rookie was his defense and he spent all summer working on that. Rajon Rondo has also spent time helping Kuzma with his defense as well.

Ohm Youngmisuk ESPN Staff Writer 

Michael Beasley on some of his initial observations of the Lakers: "[Kentavious] Caldwell-Pope can shoot... we have a chance to special [but have to put in the work]."

Ohm Youngmisuk ESPN Staff Writer 

Lonzo Ball says everyone thinks he's revamped his jumper but he says his shooting form is still a little toward his left but a bit more centered simply because he's stronger after spending time in the weight room. He says with added strength, he no longer has to bring the ball over more to his left side.

 

Pop also shared his thoughts on Manu Ginobili's retirement: “It was a complicated thing. When you're dependent upon someone for a lot of different reasons, not just his play on the court, but just his combination of understanding people and being as curious as he was about everybody on the team and everything in the world, whether it's politics, religion, it didn't matter. He was like a partner in that respect. We'd be talking on buses and airplanes. So you know that's going to be gone. Once I realized he wasn't going to play anymore, we've been talking with him about hanging around and being at practices every now and then like Timmy. We actually took him on our coaches retreat this past week. He spent time with us, trying to develop strategies for the season. So we want to keep him around as much as we can, just like Timmy. And Matt Bonner. But we don't listen to Matt. We just tell him to do his jokes.”