The Los Angeles Lakers were fortunate to land the second overall pick in the NBA Draft, which they used to take thrilling guard Lonzo Ball out of UCLA. The hope is that Ball will be a major piece for the Lakers rebuilding process, and will ultimately help them end a playoff drought that has now stretched to four consecutive years.
Ball already wowed fans in Las Vegas during Summer League, where he took home the MVP award for the tournament. As the point guard, a lot will be placed on his young shoulders, and Ball will be expected to display leadership skills beyond his years.
Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka spoke at media day about Ball’s ability to lead the team:
“Lonzo has got a really unique style of leadership about him… just the way he carries himself. It’s a type of quiet confidence and humility… It draws guys in… Because it’s not an all about me mentality, it’s an all about us, guys take him very seriously.”
While Ball may not be the most vociferous player on the floor, the way that he moves the basketball keeps teammates involved and locked in. The ball rarely rests in his hands for more than a moment before he fires it off to an open teammate, which is not only an aesthetically pleasing style of play to watch but it’s also one that is contagious. On a Lakers team that struggled on both ends of the floor, the hope is that Ball will usher in a new era of exciting basketball.
Of course, Magic Johnson and head coach Luke Walton have stressed defense for some time, and then hope to see the team getting out and running with Ball leading the break. It’s a playing style that should be familiar to Lakers fans, as it’s essentially the recipe for Showtime.
There is a lot of work to be done, but if Ball can live up to his potential the Lakers will be off and running in no time.