Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball has yet to play an NBA game, but the hype surrounding the 19-year-old is already huge.
The Lakers drafted Ball with the second overall pick out of UCLA, and he proved why he was selected so high in the Las Vegas Summer League, earning MVP honors.
HoopsHype recently came out with their top 30 point guard going into the 2017-18 season, and despite not playing a single game Ball came in at No. 19 on the list:
Ball earned the Summer League MVP in Las Vegas with 16.3 points, 9.3 assists, 7.7 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game, and while summer league success hasn’t historically been all that predictive of NBA success, it’s better to play fantastic than not. One notable part of Ball’s shooting is that he only made 67.3 percent of his free throw attempts at UCLA while shooting 41.2 percent on three-pointers. For NBA three-point success, studies have shown that free-throw percentage is actually the better indicator in projecting NBA shooting.
The Lakers have the chance to play around with some interesting lineups to take advantage of Ball’s transition game with Brandon Ingram at power forward, and the addition of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a fantastic defender who can guard the tougher backcourt matchup every night.
Ball was ranked just behind fellow rookie, Markelle Fultz of the Philadelphia 76ers, who was the top overall pick in the draft. The two rookies ranked ahead of former NBA MVP Derek Rose and the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon.
Two-time MVP Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors came in at No. 1 on the list, while the reigning MVP Russell Westbrook was just behind him at No. 2.
If Ball can carry his stellar Summer League play into the NBA season, getting open shots for his teammates and controlling the pace of games like he does when he’s at his best, then he will likely climb that list at a rapid pace.