When the Los Angeles Lakers drafted Lonzo Ball with the second overall pick out of UCLA they knew they were getting a pass-first point guard that has an ability to make everyone around him better.
What they might not have known though was to how big of an extent that would be, as Ball made an immediate impact in the Las Vegas Summer League, earning MVP honors and leading the Lakers to the championship by playing selfless basketball, which became infectious among his teammates.
It appears Ball has carried that over to training camp as in the Lakers first scrimmages Wednesday night a team of him, Kyle Kuzma, Vander Blue, Thomas Bryant and Corey Brewer went 3-0, with Ball leading the way.
After Thursday’s practice Lakers head coach Luke Walton commented on what he has seen out of Ball so far, saying that he has an ability to slow the game down better than most players.
“It’s almost as if the game is moving a little bit slower for him than it is other players,” Walton said. “We’re asking everyone to play fast, fast, fast. He’s out there just making simple passes, when guys are open he’s putting it on their hands. It’s kind of why we built the team like that (being able to run).”
Walton added that he has been very impressed with everything he has seen out of his rookie point guard so far in camp as he has been talking, leading and giving effort, making him very coachable.
A lot of the Lakers success this season, or lack thereof, will depend on Ball. If he is able to get the entire team playing selfless basketball and get out in transition the way he does then it could lead to a lot of wins, as has been the case with Ball on the previous teams he has played on at Chino Hils High, UCLA and the Lakers Summer League team.
*Quotes from practice compiled by Matthew Moreno and Serena Winters