If one thing is clear from Lonzo Ball’s first week in Los Angeles, it’s that everyone around the Lakers is impressed with him.
President of basketball operations Magic Johnson called him “the new face of the Lakers,” general manager Rob Pelinka has said his talent is “transcendent” and Brandon Ingram has said playing with him will be “fun” (which for the soft-spoken Ingram is basically the equivalent of saying Ball will win the next 10 MVPs).
Even Brook Lopez, who the team officially introduced as a Laker for the first time Wednesday and has been with the team less than a week, told Serena Winters of Lakers Nation that Ball’s amazing abilities are the first thing that stood out to him over his first few days in the gym with his new team.
“Seeing him on the floor and playing with him the other day, he’s just truly an impressive specimen. His basketball IQ is truly off the charts, it impressed me,” Lopez said. “Just seeing him on the floor, kind of commanding the team, running the team, it was impressive, obviously given his age and lack of NBA experience, it was really cool to see him out there doing his thing.”
On some level, veterans have to pump up their young teammates and Lopez is doing his job here. That doesn’t mean he’s not being genuine, and he certainly didn’t have to go so above-and-beyond in his praise of Ball here.
Lopez has also played with some great point guards, from Deron Williams to... okay, that’s really it. Still, Lopez has seen a lot of great point guards light up the Brooklyn Nets over the last few years, so for him to go this far in praising Ball is meaningful. Especially given that Ball is just a teenager in his first few days with the franchise himself.
Fans will get a preview of Ball’s IQ for themselves in Las Vegas Summer League next week, and it sounds like he and Lopez are already off to a good start chemistry-wise as the Lakers’ likely 1-5 starting combo this season.