Lonzo Ball put on a show last night with 36 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds as he led the Los Angeles Lakers to a 103-102 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. What was most notable about Ball’s performance was his aggressiveness in looking for his own shot.
The first quarter saw Ball go scoreless, but have six assists including a gorgeous full court pass to Kyle Kuzma. But in the final three quarters, Ball attacked the basket consistently, showing off his underrated speed, athleticism, and finishing ability.
After the game, Ball revealed that a talk with head coach Luke Walton led to his increased aggression, via Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:
Lonzo said he talked w/ Luke Walton about being more aggressive, getting to the basket. Admitted he was settling for shots in past games.
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) July 13, 2017
Ball did have a tendency to settle for jumpers in his first couple of games, particularly in the opener where 11 of his 15 shots were three-pointers. In his second game against the Celtics, Ball was a slightly more aggressive, but nowhere near his level on Wednesday.
Ball has already proven he can affect the game with his passing, but if he must also be accounted for with his drives to the basket it will make his passing that much more effective. Ball is showing that he is an excellent finisher at the rim and is difficult to stop when he gets a head of steam.
His performance is certainly promising as he is already looking like someone who will make an impact for the Lakers immediately. It is still only Summer League, so expecting Ball to be at this level once the regular season starts would be foolish. It is, however, good to see him taking Walton’s words and applying them. The potential for Ball to be a gamechanger is obvious.