EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- A visibly bigger Lonzo Ball says the biggest change he has made to his jump shot is the addition of more strength.
Ball says he "just got cleared" to participate in full workouts after undergoing surgery on a torn left meniscus, and the Lakers will be careful and take things slowly with Ball. Lakers coach Luke Walton told ESPN's Dave McMenamin that the plan is to start Rajon Rondo at point guard as Ball makes his way back from his mid-July surgery.
Once Ball makes his way back into 5-on-5 action, he hopes to show off an improved jump shot and the ability to finish better in the paint.
Last season, Ball brought the ball over to his left side when he shot. Now, Ball still shoots it toward his left side but has moved his set point slightly more toward the middle, drawing rave reviews from Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka.
"Everybody is saying my jump shot [is] this new thing," Ball said Monday. "To me, it is 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."
Johnson says Ball's jump shot looks "beautiful" and believes the second-year point guard is ready for a breakout season. New teammate LeBron James also sees big things ahead for Ball.
"He's destined for greatness, I believe," James told McMenamin. "His basketball IQ, his ability to pass the ball, you get a sense from his teammates that they like playing with him."
Ball went into his rookie season with enormous expectations and hype. He struggled at times with injuries, missing 30 games. He also shot just 36 percent from the field and 30.5 percent from behind the arc, with his free throw shooting sitting at just 45.1 percent.
Johnson told Ball this was his most important summer ever and wanted to see the point guard work on adding muscle to stay more durable and finish more easily. Despite using the first part of the summer to rest his left knee and try to treat it with platelet-rich plasma injections, Ball was able to spend time in the weight room and film room, going through study sessions with Johnson and Rondo.
"If you look at Lonzo, his body has changed. His upper body, it's built like a brick wall now and it is very impressive to see his dedication, same with BI [Brandon Ingram]," Kyle Kuzma said when asked about what he has seen from the other young Lakers players this offseason.
"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."
"I think for me moving forward, a lot of it is just about confidence," Ball added. "Once you believe in yourself, you can pretty much do whatever you want in my opinion, so that is the main thing."
Ball has already experienced a major addition in his life with the birth of his daughter this summer.
"Not even basketball, on life," Ball said of the impact the birth of his first child had on him. "You got to think about a whole nother human being. When she was born, it kind of changed my view on everything.
"During the pregnancy and stuff, I knew I had a daughter coming but when she finally got here that is when it really hit me. Ever since that day, I look at life a lot differently."