Lonzo Ball hasn’t played in a basketball game for the Los Angeles Lakers since January 19, 2019. That genuinely feels like forever ago. And when a player is sidelined for a while, people tend to forget about their performance on the court.
So let me refresh everyone’s memory. Where do I begin? Oh yes, Lonzo has a career average of 10.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 1.6 steals, and 0.6 blocks. According to @NateSmithNBA, “Only 4 players have ever had a season prior to turning 25 where they met or exceeded those marks: Grant Hill, Magic Johnson, Clyde Drexler, and Jason Kidd.” That’s some pretty damn good company.
Oh, those numbers aren’t good enough? All right fine, I’ll focus on two timelines in Lonzo’s sophomore season — his final 13 games as well as his final seven games — in my interview* with him:
In Lonzo’s first 34 games in his sophomore season, he shot 30.7% from downtown. In his final 13 games, he shot 37.3% from there. The Lakers were shorthanded during all those games due to LeBron James and Rajon Rondo being injured. Before Lonzo joined them in getting injured — because everyone seemed to get hurt this season — he had started showing major signs of development. In case you didn’t know, young players actually developing in the NBA is real thing.
Thus, Lonzo had to take on a ton of responsibility, and his role completely changed. He struggled in his first 6 games. He wasn’t really being aggressive on the offensive end and seemed a bit lost, which is why I decided to focus on his last seven games, where he flipped a switch.
In his first six games of the season, Lonzo’s net rating was –12.8. In his last seven, that changed to +7.7. Lonzo started to be more patient with the ball and brought energy to the team. He started to play the type of basketball that Lakers fan know he’s capable of. This summer will be his first healthy summer of his NBA career *knocks on wood*. With how well he played in those final games and how he’s handled his business off the court, I can just tell he’s going to have a breakout season next year.