The Los Angeles Lakers have been slowly rising from the ashes of Kobe Bryant’s torn Achilles, with expectations and anticipation reaching a fever pitch following a great showing as they captured the Las Vegas Summer League championship.
Lakers president of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson clearly loved what he saw during their tear through the desert, and unsurprisingly he sees Lonzo Ball as the key to the team progressing next season.
Magic joined the ESPN First Take crew Tuesday, discussing a variety of topics covering the Lakers. When asked why he declared that the Lakers were back following their Las Vegas title, he broke down how Lonzo will elevate the team.
“When you draft Lonzo Ball... pass-first point guard, also basketball IQ off the charts. He creates havoc, and he creates shots for guys. He can get inside that lane and make players better, and we’ve been missing that.
“You saw the summer league team, they put on a show in Las Vegas. People were happy to see them play the style we were playing, up-and-down basketball, run-and-gun basketball, with Lonzo Ball making some unbelievable passes,” Johnson said.
Magic certainly has high expectations for the team he’s building, but he’s not basing his view of their progression on the playoffs. What he wants is consistent growth throughout the year, which seems like a fairly reasonable goal to have for a team in the Lakers’ position.
“I’m excited. It’s going to be tough for us because the West is better, but I’m not gauging our team based on if we make the playoffs or not. As long as we get better, week-to-week, month-to-month, and keep growing,” Magic said.
Considering the Las Vegas over-under is 33.5 on the Lakers, perhaps that’s the right mindset for everyone to take.