After missing 30 games during his rookie season and having offseason knee surgery, Lonzo Ball returned for the final two preseason games against the Golden State Warriors.
As Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson believes Ball is primed for a breakout season, the 20-year-old showed how his added strength will help him on both ends of the court.
Highlighted by an improved shooting form, Ball will also look to improve on defending the most talented position in the game today.
While Ball’s defense does not get enough attention, he believes he’s among the team’s better defenders, according to Tania Ganguli of Los Angeles Times:
“I think I’m one of the best defenders on the team,” Ball said. “So when you’re guarding some other team’s best players, especially if they are guards, just try to make their jobs as hard as I can.”
As Ball nearly averaged a triple-double during his rookie season, his defense was perhaps the most surprising aspect of his game. While it is unclear if Ball will initially start at point guard in the season opener against the Portland Trail Blazers, his ability to guard multiple positions will be key to the team’s success.
With Ball getting into game shape, he averaged 7.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.5 assists in two games against the Warriors.
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