In the wake of Los Angeles Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo receiving a three-game suspension from the NBA, second-year guard Lonzo Ball has been elevated back to starting duties for the time being.
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The UCLA product previously came off the bench in the Lakers’ first two games of the regular season, but has since taken on a larger role in the absence of Rondo. That was further made possible when head coach Luke Walton lifted Ball’s minutes restriction.
Given the green light, Ball’s two-way impact was evident in the Lakers’ road win over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday. In 28 minutes of action, he recorded 12 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists to along with 2 steals on the defensive side.
After the game, the 20-year-old expressed optimism with the progress he’s made after undergoing offseason knee surgery. “I think I’m on track,” Ball said. “No injuries, no setbacks. That’s all I care about right now.”
Ball, of course, spent the better part of five months sidelined from basketball-related activities while recovering from the knee procedure and appeared in only two of the Lakers’ six preseason games.
Now with back-to-back starts under his belt and no limitations, Ball has thrived in the early going. In four overall games this season, he has averaged 11.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 27 minutes per game.
Moreover, Ball is shooting nearly 50 percent from the field while knocking down over 40 percent of his three-point attempts — both a marked improvement from his rookie season.