Los Angeles Lakers Rising Star Part II: Lonzo Ball
With the NBA season less than 2 months away, the Los Angeles Lakers are looking to have only the best basketball players with immense potential this upcoming season. So, look no further than point guard Lonzo Ball. He easily became one of the most talked about players in the NBA with only one season under his belt. Stories ranged from his unorthodox shot to his outspoken father, or simply being overrated. Yet, despite all the criticism, Ball has managed to have a talented first season.
Born to Be A Star
We all got our first dose of Lonzo Ball as a high school basketball player at Chino Hills playing alongside his brothers LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball. They were a superstar trio starring in headlines for local news. Lonzo stood out by being the oldest and playing with a carelessness attitude. In his senior year, Ball averaged a triple-double with 23.9 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 11.7 assists per game. He directed his team to a 35-0 record, making them the number one team in the nation. Ball was also honored as the Naismith Prep Player of the Year, among other accolades, and this was all before his college career even began.
As a UCLA Bruin, Ball played 36 games and continued to play with his signature casual demeanor. He averaged 14.6 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists per game and was able to lead the team into the NCAA tournament, getting them to the Sweet 16 round. Ball stunned scouts everywhere with his outstanding basketball IQ and ability to read the court. He set a new record for UCLA’s most assists in a single-season with 274, the second highest in PAC-12 history.
The Los Angeles Lakers, in need of a point guard, then selected Lonzo Ball with the number 2 pick in the 2017 NBA draft, a match made in basketball heaven.
LA Lakers Newest Point Guard
Like teammate Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo also showed out in the Summer League, garnering him the honor of 2017 NBA Summer League MVP. He averaged 16.3 points, 9.3 assists and 7 rebounds per game. He blew us away with his excellent passing and precision making shots, even though we all chuckled a little at his form.
In his first year as a Laker, Lonzo Ball played 52 games, started in 50 of them averaging 10.2 points, 7.2 assists, and 6.9 rebounds per game. He did not have the easiest of starts, but once he got into a rhythm, Ball was able to continue to show us how amazing of a basketball IQ he has. On November 11, 2017, against the Milwaukee Bucks, Ball became the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double with 19 points, 13 assists, and 12 rebounds. Although the Lakers lost that day, we got a glimpse of the star in the making that is Lonzo Ball.
What Makes A Great Point Guard
A great point guard facilitates offense by being able to orchestrate plays with ease. This is the ability that Ball has and does so well. Throughout his first season, we saw him make excellent passes and he was able to find open players and shots game after game. Ball has a unique eye for the game, something that not may 20-year old’s in the league possess.
Not only can he deliver on the offensive end, but what was more surprising was his defensive level of attack this season. With a 6’6, 190 lb frame, no one would have expected to have to fight for a basket against him, but Lonzo did just that. Ball contested shots and was not afraid to let his defense do the talking. In only 52 games he recorded 43 blocks. And alongside defensive players like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Ball and the Lakers were able to turn around the teams’ defensive rating.
Ball did struggle with injuries this season, but when he did play we caught a glimpse of all the possibilities that could turn him into a Laker legend. Not only is he making history, he’s also setting himself up to become a basketball phenomenon. Expect him to be more comfortable this upcoming season and setting new expectations for guards in the league.