"We never thought, 'OK, we're gonna win four years from now.' We really thought, 'This is our year. We're gonna get this done. We're gonna push, push, push, push, push, get better now.' And in the process of having that kind of impatience, you develop. If you're just patiently going about it, you'll never get there. For players, it's a kind of patient impatience."
"Even when Shaq and I first came here, there was still patience. Shaq still had to grow up, he was extremely young. I still had to grow up. We had a lot of the pieces around that had to grow up. Now, it seemed like it was easier then, because it seemed like we were a contender right off the bat. [Nick] Van Exel, Eddie Jones and Shaq. But that wasn’t the reality. It took us years to get there."
Bryant, now viewed as one of the best players in history, wasn't an impact player right out of the gate. He averaged 7.6 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game during a rookie campaign in which he made just six starts and played only 15.5 minutes per contest.
So it's a bit surprising to see him suggest Ball, the second overall pick in the 2017 draft, must start making immediate progress in his development.
The 20-year-old UCLA product is averaging 8.8 points, 7.0 assists, 6.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals through his first 24 pro games. While the across-the-board production is solid, he's struggled mightily with his shot, making 31.9 percent of his field-goal attempts and 24.3 percent of his three-pointers.
Ball told reporters last month the shooting woes are "just in my head to be honest."
The Lakers are carrying a 9-15 record into Saturday night's road game against the Charlotte Hornets at the Spectrum Center.