The Los Angeles Lakers have a much-improved roster from just a season ago after all of the additions made during this summer. One of the most important, not just for this season, but the future of the franchise, is rookie point guard Lonzo Ball.
Immediately after Ball was drafted his father LaVar made a bold proclamation, saying that Lonzo would lead the Lakers to the playoffs. That seemed like a long shot then, which was before the likes of Paul George and Paul Millsap moved from the East to the West.
Lonzo is far from the outspoken character his father is, but that doesn’t stop him from backing him up on this plan. Speaking with Lang Whitaker of NBA.com during the Panini America rookie photo shoot, Ball made it clear that the Lakers’ goal is to be a playoff team:
“Trying to make the playoffs. That’s the plan, that’s what we’re working to, so that’s definitely the goal for this year.”
Ball would even admit the difficulty of being in the Western Conference, but did not back down:
“I know the Western Conference is tough, but I think it’s doable or I wouldn’t say it.”
With Ball, Brook Lopez, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Kyle Kuzma now in the fold the Lakers have added some serious talent to go along with the young players already on the roster like Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, and Larry Nance Jr.
Ball’s confidence in being able to help end the Lakers’ four-year playoff drought is a good sign, however. One of the things the front office pointed to in drafting Ball is his leadership ability and he has already shown signs of it.
As was pointed out, the Western Conference is a gauntlet and the Lakers will have to make a huge win improvement to compete for a playoff spot. But Ball and the rest of the squad sound ready to make that leap.