Lonzo Ball Talks Adjusting to New Orleans After Trade from Lakers to Pelicans

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst IISeptember 26, 2019

LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 17: Lonzo Ball watches courtside at Jordan Bell's First Annual Race to Erase MS Celebrity Basketball Game at California State University Long Beach on August 17, 2019 in Long Beach, California. (Photo by Cassy Athena/Getty Images)
Cassy Athena/Getty Images

Lonzo Ball had only ever lived in California before the Los Angeles Lakers traded him to the New Orleans Pelicans as part of the package to land Anthony Davis over the summer, but the 21-year-old point guard is settling into his new surroundings nicely. 

"It's been pretty easy," Ball told NBA.com's Jim Eichenhofer. "The coaches are great, my teammates are cool and people in town, they love us. So I'm here just trying to do my part."

Along with Ball, the Lakers sent the Pelicans Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram and three first-round picks. However, the most notable addition to the team came in the form of Zion Williamson with the No. 1 overall selection that New Orleans already owned.

Ball added:

"I think we have a chance (to be good). We have a lot of talent. We have a new team, where people have got to get to know each other, so we’ve got to start a little earlier. 

[...]

"(As a team) we can do a lot of switching. We've got height, strength and speed. We've got everything you need to be a good defensive team. Now we’ve just got to put in effort. We have all the pieces we need. We've got shooters, bigs, people who can push the pace. I’m looking forward to this year."

Executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin, who the organization hired in April, likely made Ball's transition smoother.

"I feel like Griffin came in and has changed the whole culture," guard Jrue Holiday told Forbes' Christopher Dodson in late July. "Changed all the equipment, the facility, made it more compatible for us and even our training staff and medical staff. He really knows what he is doing. It's been real cool."

The Pelicans' starting five figures to be Ball, Holiday, Ingram, Williamson and Derrick Favors.

New Orleans has plenty of depth too. It acquired center Jaxson Hayes at No. 8 overall in this year's draft and signed veteran guard JJ Redick in free agency. 

Now, it will be about translating improved culture into wins. Ball has something to prove, as his 2018-19 campaign ended prematurely with an ankle injury suffered on Jan. 19. The 2017 second overall pick also only appeared in 52 games his rookie year because of shoulder and knee ailments. 

New Orleans, meanwhile, finished last season 33-49 and will look to establish an identity in a post-Davis era. 

The Pelicans' training camp will run from Tuesday through Friday next week. The 2019-20 NBA season tips off on Oct. 22.

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