Lonzo Ball faced more pressure and expectations than any other Los Angeles Lakers rookie since Magic Johnson. While much of that was created by his outspoke father, LaVar Ball, Johnson didn’t exactly ease the situation.
Albeit jokingly and in a motivation manner, the Lakers president of basketball operations joked with Ball to leave a few of his records unbroken. After an encouraging showing in the Las Vegas Summer League, the young point guard faced heightened expectations.
There were flashes of the talent LaVar and Johnson raved about, to go along with areas that needed improvement, which is to be expected with a rookie.
One of those was not assimilating to life in a professional locker room, as Ball meshed seamlessly with his teammates and proved to be extremely confident and comfortable in his own skin.
Although mild-mannered, the 20-year-old was often mentioned by teammates as having a great sense of humor. Some of that was on display in Ball’s special movie trailer for “The Equalizer 2,” which he shared on Twitter:
The Director wasn’t too into my merch game, but I still think I’m gonna be the next Equalizer. Don’t miss #TheEqualizer2 on July 20th and check out the #NBAFinals on ABC. Go to https://t.co/sPlCcjUBRc for more! #ad pic.twitter.com/qSGqneoCGv
— Lonzo Ball (@ZO2_) June 4, 2018
As for matters on the court, Ball averaged 10.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, 7.2 assists and 1.7 steals in 52 games (50 starts). He earned a spot on the All-Rookie Second Team.
Ball finished tied for first among all rookies in steals, ranked second in assists and fourth in rebounds. He tied LeBron James for the youngest player in NBA history with multiple triple-doubles in a single season.
While Ball enjoyed a successful rookie campaign, the Lakers front office challenged him to make considerable growth during the summer. Kyle Kuzma, another who the team asked to further improve, said he’s seen a shift in Ball taking the weight room more seriously.
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