Predicting Lonzo Ball returning from injury given how the Los Angeles Lakers handle that situation and the releasing of that information is pretty much a guessing game at this point; but all signs as of right now are pointing towards his preseason debut coming Wednesday night when against the Golden State Warriors in Las Vegas.
LeBron James was asked after practice Monday afternoon about what that does for the Lakers, and specifically a bench unit that’s struggled to maintain the pace and style of play James and the starters have set the tone with thus far through four preseason games.
“You got two born point guards, (two guys) born to be point guards, running the show,” James said. “So it just puts people in their right positions. So, absolutely (Lonzo coming back helps).”
This might seem obvious, but Ball’s impact cannot be overstated. Yes, the Lakers are trying to play positionless basketball, switching all over the court and running whenever they possibly can, but you still need someone on the court who can guard the opposing lead guard at the point of attack. Ball is also one of the NBA’s best rebounding point guards, so that’ll be a huge boost as well.
Offensively, having a guard to steady the team or keep them focused on the way they want to play is vital with bench squad that has spent so little time together. As much as fans want to cheer anytime Lance Stephenson dances all over the court with the basketball for 14 seconds of the 24-second shot clock, that doesn’t really do anything for the other four guys on the court too. Having a point guard who knows this and can put guys in a more likely situation to succeed will work wonders for that group’s consistency.
Fans will also jump on this as some kind of tell regarding who he’d prefer to start between Lonzo and Rondo, it should be pointed out that he meant more that having a point guard of their caliber (regardless of who it might be) will help the bench. Not that Lonzo does this specifically.
And if you want more evidence regarding how excited LeBron is to get Lonzo back, this Instagram post should suffice.
Yeah, he’s pumped.