Lonzo Ball has been the center of attention in the Las Vegas Summer League. Ball dominated Wednesday night against the Sixers, scoring 36 points, dishing out 11 assists and grabbing eight rebounds. Ball also had five steals and one block to add to his resume. His performance impressed everyone, including his head coach, Luke Walton.
Walton appeared on Zach Lowe’s podcast and gushed over his new rookie point guard. Walton talked highly about Ball’s passing and vision:
“The way he passes the ball, the way he plays the game is contagious. Other guys on the team are starting to play like that. You can see the team taking joy in making the extra pass now and that’s how we want to play as an organization. Even in the first game…where he was 2-for-15 or whatever, I still thought he played a really good basketball game. He was moving the ball, he was throwing it ahead, he had a good pace going, he just wasn’t making shots. We know that part of his game is going to come.”
Although Walton praised Ball’s vision, Walton was equally impressed and happy with Ball’s aggressiveness and scoring last night against the Sixers:
“I loved how aggressive he was to score (against Philadelphia) because a lot of the times he had been getting into the paint and kicking out, which we love too, but let’s also look to get a couple of your own. I thought he’s done a really good job of playing his game, not trying to do anything for anyone else and feeling out the NBA game a little bit while he’s been here in Summer League.”
Ball’s ability to pass and his willingness to push the break in transition were the main reasons why the Lakers selected him:
“It was one of the things we talked about when we were sitting around the draft room, debating where we, the draft was so loaded this year, there was so many possibilities on who to take, but that was a major thing we talked about in those rooms. It’s a simple thing, but, like you said, when you’re a wing player or you’re a big man and you know if you run the floor, that ball’s going to hit you, and he does it 100 percent of the time.”
A lot of Ball’s assists came in transition. When he grabs the defensive rebound, the ball leaves his hand quickly to find his teammates streaking down the court. It has only been a few games, but seeing how Lonzo operates is already exciting his teammates.
“I saw Jordan Clarkson here. He was already really excited about how hard he’s going to run the lanes next year he was telling me. Larry Nance texted me on the phone, same idea. That’s kind of what we were hoping. We love the young players that we have with this team.”
After a rocky start in the opening game, it’s clear that Ball has Laker coaches, players and fans excited about his future and what it yet to come.