Luke Walton

Lonzo Ball's learning curve starts by playing against defensive star Patrick Beverley

Lonzo Ball's learning curve starts by playing against defensive star Patrick Beverley

The young man at the center of all the commotion smiled calmly on Wednesday, the day before the first meaningful game of his NBA career.

Lonzo Ball is rarely any other way.

“It is going to be a lot of fun,” Ball said.

On Thursday night the Lakers will host the Clippers in the season opener for both teams. The organization has goals that go beyond this season, but when it comes to the team itself, its coaches and players, their goal is simple. They want to get better and they want to win. And as Ball begins his professional career, his first task will challenge him. He’ll face Patrick Beverley, a first-team all-defensive player, one who loves shutting down opponents so...

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