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Walton: Ball will help improve Lakers' culture

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports / Action Images

With the Lonzo Ball era one step closer to kicking off after Thursday's draft, the burden of responsibility on Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton just got heavier. Walton, though, seems excited for the challenge, and hopeful that the second overall pick's style of play and attitude will bring immediate improvement after L.A.'s 25-56 finish last year.

"He'll help improve our culture with the way he plays, the way he passes, his selfless nature, and that's why we took him," Walton told reporters Thursday.

He did, however, stop short of agreeing with LaVar Ball's assertion that drafting his son means the purple and gold will make the playoffs immediately.

"I'm a very optimistic person, but I don't look that far into the future," Walton said. "Right now, I'm hoping (Lonzo) leads us to a couple summer-league victories, and we'll take it from there."

The 37-year-old bench boss also explained why the team chose Ball over Kansas prospect Josh Jackson, who went to the Phoenix Suns at No. 4.

"We love Josh Jackson, and he's a monster on the defensive end. We also want the ball moving. We want to play an up-tempo game, and that's what Ball's a genius at," Walton said.

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