It didn’t take long for the Los Angeles Lakers to move past D’Angelo Russell.
In the introductory press conference for Lonzo Ball on Friday, less than 24 hours after making him the second pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and just days after shipping away Russell, President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka held Ball in the highest regards.
Johnson pushed ball to the forefront of the Lakers’ rebuild and the franchise of the whole.
“[He is] the new face of the Lakers, the guy who I think will lead us back to where we want to get to,” Johnson said of Ball. “You look to your right you see some jersey’s hanging up on that wall. I expect a Ball jersey up there at some point, all right?”
The superlatives come in fast and heavy on the day from both Pelinka and Johnson as the two gushed about Ball and his ability on the court.
“We feel like Lonzo is a transcendent talent,” Pelinka said. “We knew on a basketball standpoint there were no questions.”
“We know that those leadership qualities are what’s going to take the Lakers to their immediate destination, which is winning a championship. The way Zo’ plays the game is infectious.”
As for himself, Ball was short with his words but powerful with his message.
“I’m coming here with a winning attitude, and hopefully I can add to the team,” Ball said.
Don’t expect the expectations to dip. Magic’s message to Lonzo and fans alike was very clear, even if lofty.
“You look to your right you see some jersey’s hanging up on that wall,” Johnson said, pointing to the row of retired jerseys hanging across the Lakers’ practice facility. “I expect a Ball jersey up there at some point, all right?”
“Lonzo, just leave me one or two records, okay? Don’t break all my records.”