When the Los Angeles Lakers drafted UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 overall pick, there was an immediate optimism within the organization. After four straight losing seasons the hope is that with Ball leading the way on the court and Magic Johnson doing the same in the front office, the Lakers are on their way to being back to championship contention.
Ball furthered that optimism with his stellar play in the Las Vegas Summer League, earning tournament MVP honors and leading the Lakers to their first ever Summer League Championship, although he did not play in the championship game due to a calf injury.
Despite Ball being pegged as the guy to turn the organization around, Johnson doesn’t believe that Ball needs to be a savior, as the team has some other promising young players, via Candace Buckner of the Washington Post:
“He doesn’t have to be the savior,” Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson told The Post. “We have Brook Lopez, Brandon Ingram and Jordan Clarkson to help. It’s not all on him.”
Ball’s father, LaVar, has never been one to shy away from putting expectations on his oldest son. He continued to do that, disagreeing with Johnson, saying he believes that his son is the savior:
“He is the savior. What you talkin’ bout?” LaVar Ball boasted. “It’s been four years ain’t nobody did nothing! He’s the savior god dangit!”
Ball undoubtedly made a major impact on the Summer League roster with his unselfish, pass first play rubbing off on the rest of the team. He led the league in assists at 9.3 per game to go along with 16.3 points and 7.7 rebounds. He also recorded the only two triple-doubles in the history of the league.
While Johnson doesn’t view him as a savior, he is definitely excited about the potential he has showed in his short tenure with the organization, and will hand him the keys to the franchise as the starting point guard this October.