Lonzo Ball has finally arrived. The No. 2 pick from the 2017 NBA Draft broke through in Summer League for the Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday night, finally delivering on all the hype. Yes, it was a matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers in early July, but man was it fun.
Ball finished the night with 36 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds, five steals and two blocks in 36 minutes, as the Lakers won 103-102. The 36 points were the second-most anyone has had in Summer League so far, and he didn’t even score in the first quarter. Ball also did it on 12-of-22 shooting from the field and was 9-of-12 from the free throw line.
Wednesday night’s show was a glimpse of the future for Lakers fans who have been desperate to find positives over the past few years. Ball has shown through after a really rough first outing last week, turning in a double-double in his second game and dominating Wednesday night. Sure, it’s just Summer League, but what Ball can do on the court when he settles down is undeniable. The kid’s vision and passing ability alone are already at a superstar level.
The most impressive part of Ball’s night against the Sixers was the work he did on the defensive end. With his size, length and athleticism the 19-year-old has the tools to be an excellent defender. It will all depend on how hard he works and how badly he wants to get better. Yes, Ball’s 3-point shot is a concern (he was 3-for-10 Wednesday night), and it certainly needs work, but the rest of his game looks ready-made for the NBA.
There is a positive buzz around the Lakers for the first time since Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles tendon on April 12, 2013. That injury effectively ended Kobe’s career and the Bryant Era in Los Angeles.
It has been more than four long years since the franchise had any appreciable positive momentum. That exists now solely because of the kid from Chino Hills and what he can do on the court.
Showtime has returned to the Los Angeles Lakers, and not a moment too soon.