It wasn’t all that long ago that a slick-passing point guard led the Los Angeles Lakers to NBA glory, and now they believe they may have found another.
Magic Johnson flew up and down the court at the Great Western Forum, flinging no-look passes as the orchestrator of Showtime in the 80’s, but today, he’s the President of Basketball Operations. In that capacity, he used the Lakers second overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft to select Lonzo Ball, the playmaking point guard who many believe could be the next big thing.
Of course, for a Lakers team that is attempting to rebuild, player development is the name of the game. They need to do what they can to make sure that each of their young players reaches his highest level of potential. With that in mind, head coach Luke Walton recently said in an ESPNLA special dinner event that he would lean on Johnson for help with Ball:
“I’d be an absolute fool not to ask Magic Johnson for his advice on a player like Lonzo Ball.”
While Ball and Johnson aren’t identical, the Showtime playing style is something that the modern-day team is hoping to replicate, and in that way, Ball would slot into the Johnson role on the team. He will be responsible for pushing the pace and leading the fast break while creating an exciting environment for fans.
The league’s perception of the Lakers will be important next season, as they hope to sign a pair of max-level superstars next summer. If they can make a leap and be seen as an up-and-coming young team that could be enough to bring in a veteran or two like LeBron James, Paul George, Russell Westbrook, or DeMarcus Cousins that can put them over the top.
Ball’s success this season will be extremely important in that regard, and it will be up to Walton and Johnson to show him how to become the engine of the new Lakers offense this season.