In the 2018-19 NBA season opener, a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton started Rajon Rondo instead of Lonzo Ball. The decision was hardly a surprise.
While Ball remains the point guard of the future for the Lakers, he only played in two preseason games as a result of offseason knee surgery.
With the Lakers limiting Ball to around 25 minutes so far, he finished with seven points (2-of-7 shooting from the field), four rebounds and one assist.
Following the 128-119 loss in Portland, Ball maintained confidence he will be just fine as he works to get back into a rhythm, as seen on Spectrum SportsNet:
“After I got my first wind I think I was OK. I felt a little tired again, but it’s my third game in five months. I’ll be OK.”
Since president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka took over, the Lakers have prioritized the long-term health of their players.
As Ball missed 30 games in his rookie season, they are being extremely cautious to ensure he is completely healthy. While the 20-year-old could not participate in basketball activities, he was able to gain 10-15 pounds of muscle which has also helped with his shooting form.
Once Ball is fully healthy, it will be interesting to see if he regains his starting spot. While Rondo finished with 13 points and 11 assists, the long-term goal is for Ball to develop chemistry with LeBron James and the rest of the young core.
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