Going into this season, there were concerns about how Lonzo Ball would fit alongside LeBron James, and rightfully so. By all accounts, Ball is the antithesis of what a “LeBron James point guard” should be, or at least has been.
While some of those concerns still loom over the Los Angeles Lakers, head coach Luke Walton likes what he’s seen from the Ball and James pairing so far.
“I think Zo and LeBron are playing great together,” Walton said after the Lakers’ win over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday. “I think that with their basketball instincts and the way they feel the game, I feel like they’ve really started to build a nice connection out there together.”
In the 569 total minutes they’ve played together this season, the two-man lineup of Ball and James have posted a net rating of +2.7, which is the third-highest net rating of any two-man lineup that has played more than 300 minutes together. James and Josh Hart have the highest net rating (+9.4), followed by Ingram and Kuzma (+3.3).
Unfortunately, Ball and James will have to spend less time on the floor together as a result of the the injuries that have piled up on the roster over the past few weeks.
With Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo out for at least the next two games, Walton said he plans to stagger Ball and James’ minutes.
“We’re gonna have to start splitting LeBron and Zo a little more. Get one of them out a little earlier than we’d like,” Walton said on Wednesday. “We’re gonna try and have LeBron or Zo on the court most of the game.”
It’s an unfortunate setback in their development, but what Ball and James have shown on the floor so far suggests that they’ll be just fine together going forward. In other words, Lonzo shouldn’t be worried about the cold weather in Washington, D.C.
You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.