Lonzo Ball will (finally) return to the court Wednesday night in Las Vegas as the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Golden State Warriors. In all likelihood, setting expectations anywhere higher than foundational basics is probably too much to ask, but that still allows for fans to look for a few things.
First and foremost, Ball’s impact on defense has been missed. It’s really not a stretch at all to consider him the best team defender on the roster, so his presence is going to help quite a bit there. Still, he’s only a point guard and, given the issues with this Lakers roster as currently constituted (more on that in a bit), hoping a single guard fixes everything isn’t fair to Lonzo.
Offensively, interestingly enough, one of the ways I’m really hoping Ball helps the Lakers in his return is merely by being a willing shooter. Obviously as the year goes along, the hope is that he makes them, but too often this preseason, the Lakers have been simply passing up shots, and especially from the point guard position. This has thrown off the rhythm of not only the offense, but the defense as well.
Basically, by having too many guys attack closeouts on good shots in favor of hopefully creating a great shot, the Lakers start to lose some balance on the court and wind up getting hurt in transition as a result. Again, it’s only preseason so some of this stuff will be ironed out over the course of the year, but thus far, the Lakers have been a little too unselfish, and having a more willing shooter at point guard than Rajon Rondo has historically been can start to correct some of these issues.
We also talk about the center position, which is quickly becoming an unavoidable and uncomfortable topic. Maybe the Lakers might wait and see how things look with Lonzo back and a little more time to gel, but as things currently stand, this issue needs to be resolved and most likely the solution will come in the form of a personnel move. Pete and I take a look at some options in that regard.
As always, this is just a tidbit of the full context given in the show. Listen to the full discussion below and please check out old episodes, or guarantee you won’t miss any ever again by subscribing on iTunes.