Lakers coach Walton says players will 'come after' Lonzo Ball

Updated: 

Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton warned rookie Lonzo Ball there will be a target on his back in the NBA.

As the number two overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Ball will begin his NBA career against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday and his coach thinks he will receive plenty of attention.

"They're going to come after him. That's what people in this league do," Walton said, according to Orange County Register.

"They come after young players, and when there's young players with a lot of media and a hype around them, they really come after them."

Ball is one of the youngest players in the NBA at 19 after playing one season in college at UCLA surrounded by his father's antics.

Walton has said before that Ball will have a "bigger target on his chest than most rookies", but he reiterated it again after the Lakers' morning walk-through.

"They want to set a tone and he'll see it all year long," Walton said. "I think he knows that, he'll be expecting it and as the season goes he'll learn from it and learn how best to handle it and succeed with it."

Ball is expected to play against the Clippers despite being troubled by a left ankle injury.