How can the Lonzo Ball Lakers change the premier Los Angeles franchise’s fortunes?
Despite a scare in his first preseason game, the Lonzo Ball Lakers is here to stay. With that said, can the much talked about number 2 pick live up to his hype? There have been a lot of players over the years who were projected as future stars when they entered the league. Of course, many of these prospects didn’t really last long. By all indications, the Los Angeles Lakers seem to have a star in their hands in Lonzo Ball. The question now is, can he live up to the hype and make the Lakers relevant again?
Lonzo Ball still has a noticeable limp after the game pic.twitter.com/7Z4sYriVSc
— Shahan Ahmed (@shahanLA) October 3, 2017
Questions about Lonzo Ball’s NBA Readiness
Project the performance of the Lonzo Ball Lakers is decidedly complicated. First off, there’s a lot of questions surrounding Lonzo Ball himself. His only year in the NCAA showed everyone a glimpse of his skillset as a point guard. However, success in the pros is a lot harder to come by than in the college level. In UCLA’s NCAA run, there were times when we saw Ball struggling against elite point guards. Don’t believe me? Just check out the tape of UCLA’s Sweet 16 loss to Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament. In that game, De’Aaron Fox completely dominated Lonzo. If he couldn’t dominate in the college level, how could you expect him to do so in the big league?
Slow-motion look at Lonzo Ball's shooting mechanics. Unorthodox but gets great rotation, has excellent touch. pic.twitter.com/zarBsfdMoG
— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) October 3, 2017
The Lonzo Ball Lakers could be fun to watch but…
Offensively, I expect the Lonzo Ball Lakers to be a fun team to watch. Lonzo has great court vision and a pass-first mentality that should translate to a fast-paced offense. Having teammates who can put the ball in the hoop will also help boost his assist totals. With Nick Young out, Jordan Clarkson will have a lot of time playing in the 2-guard spot. Coming off an encouraging sophomore campaign, Julius Randle can provide the team with a lot of versatility in the 4-5 spots. The team also has veteran bigs like Brook Lopez and Andrew Bogut for help down low. Throw in an athletic wing like Brandon Ingram and the Lakers, on paper, look like a formidable team.
— NBA (@NBA) October 1, 2017
A quarter or two into their first pre-season game, this fast-paced offense was on the display. Lonzo was showing off his hops and the last couple of seasons seemed like history. Well, at least that was the case until Lonzo hit the deck just as the first half was winding down. He was immediately pulled out of the game and was later diagnosed with a mild ankle sprain. Now, this alone isn’t a cause for concern. Ankle sprains are normal and players could easily recover from them. The thing is though, Lonzo is going to get more hits as the season goes along. He might be athletic but his thin frame is another cause for worry. Can he take the physical toll of a long regular season?
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) October 3, 2017
Will Lavar Ball be a distraction?
Lavar Ball could be a potential issue that the Lonzo Ball Lakers might face. To be fair, the outspoken father has so far been a boon to the Lakers. Fans seem to love him as evidenced by the long lines for selfies/handshakes he elicits when he watches the games. With that said, he’s still his own man and that might prove troublesome for the Lakers in the future. While he can be a positive influence, he is prone to blowing things out of proportion. Case in point would be his decision to withdraw his other son, LaMelo Ball from Chino Hills.
There’s a lot to unpack with this Lonzo Ball Lakers experiment. If this does pan out, then we’ll see people singing praises for Magic Johnson. If not, then we can expect another 2 to 3 seasons of mediocrity from the premier team in Los Angeles.