When the Lakers staff mapped out what it wanted from the team this year, they knew some of it would come with a cost.
The fast pace, all the running, it would pair with mistakes at first.
Now the Lakers are hoping to turn to the next stage of that development.
“We got to the season, we said what can we be really good at?” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “What are our strengths? And our youth and our ability to get out and run and having a point guard like Zo [Lonzo Ball], transition basketball is what we wanted to do. We know there’s going to be turnovers. I think our guys are good enough that those numbers should start coming down now.”
The Lakers are the second-worst team in the NBA when it comes to ball security. They commit 17.3 turnovers per game, and only the Philadelphia 76ers commit more.
They don’t have one player who is among league leaders. Rather, the Lakers make these mistakes as a whole. Ball, Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma lead the team in turnovers per game.
“Just make the right play,” Ball said. “Make the simple play. I think we’re trying to go for home runs when we could make a pass and get a layup.”
That sentiment is something Walton has discussed with the players. There isn’t often time to work on transition offense during a season packed with games, but the Lakers will get a chance to do so this weekend. They have a rare four-day break between games — no games on Thanksgiving, Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Walton plans to spend some time Saturday working on their transition game.
Nance is close
Larry Nance Jr. could return to the team by next week. The Lakers play the Clippers in a road game at Staples Center on Monday and the Warriors at home on Wednesday.
Nance broke his hand Nov. 2 in Portland. His injury is technically a fracture to his second metacarpal — the bone that begins in his left hand and extends into his index finger. The recovery time was expected to be somewhere between four and six weeks.
When Nance suffered the injury, he was the starting power forward. In his absence Walton has started the rookie Kuzma. He will use the practices when Nance is able to return to determine who the starter will be once Nance is healthy.
Ball’s family home was filled with people Thursday. Ball said Wednesday he expected 30 to 40 people to attend the family celebration with his father, grandfather and grandmother responsible for the cooking.
“I just eat,” Ball said. “Have a good time. I can’t cook at all.”
Each year he eagerly awaits his grandmother’s peach cobbler.
Brook Lopez left his team in Sacramento to be with family in Northern California after Wednesday night’s game. Kuzma’s mother came into town to celebrate Thanksgiving with her son.
And the Walton clan planned to spend the day at Walton’s brother’s house.
It’s a rare time when they’ll be able to spend a holiday with family instead of the team.
“We’re used to not having holidays off, it’s no big deal,” Walton said. “I love playing on Christmas, but whether it’s Thanksgiving or it’s a random Friday, I like getting together with my brother and nieces and nephews and breaking bread with one another.”
Just like his 20-year-old point guard, Walton doesn’t attempt to cook.
“I know my limitations,” Walton said. “Top Ramen soup, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cereal. These are my specialties.”
Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli