Fulfilling a prophecy spoken into existence by his loquacious father LaVar Ball, Lonzo Ball made his Los Angeles Lakers debut at the Las Vegas Summer League on Friday. And while Summer League by no means should be compared to the actual regular season, Ball showed more than a few flashes of the potential that made his father incessantly rave about him and that also convinced the Lakers to select the UCLA point guard with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Right from the opening tip, Ball displayed his excellent court vision and ability to find his teammates for open looks with an alley-oop pass to Brandon Ingram.
Ball’s pinpoint accurate pass was so nice that the NBA gave the play the phantom cam treatment:
But while Ball started the game off in epic fashion, his detractors weren’t that impressed. At least that was the case for WNBA All-Star Elena Delle Donne as she took to Twitter to show her allegiance to Nike and poke fun at Ball’s Big Baller Brand sneakers:
Unfortunately for Delle Donne, Ball didn’t suffer any shoe malfunctions but he did have an air ball:
Thankfully for him, Ball’s father may not have seen his son air ball since he was too busy doing an in-game interview:
Of course, LaVar acted like his son didn’t have any mistakes in the first half, insisting that Lonzo played well and that he already locked up the Rookie of the Year award. And if that wasn’t enough, LaVar also guaranteed that the Lakers would make the playoffs.
Meanwhile, LaVar’s other son, LaMelo, beat Clipper Darrell in a shooting contest during a timeout:
But while his father and brother were staying on (Big Baller) brand, all eyes were on Lonzo, and despite the hype, the Lakers rookie had a sub-par game, finishing with five points, five assists and three turnovers in 33 minutes. And with Ball struggling, the Lakers lost 96-93 to the Clippers.
In the loss, Ball showed that he still has a ways to go before becoming an impactful player. One area that is definitely a work in progress for Ball is his defense, as evidenced by Clippers big man Brice Johnson dominating him in the post:
The same could perhaps be said of his unorthodox shot as Ball went 2-for-15 from the field. Ball also couldn’t find his shot from long range, shooting 1-for-11 from behind the arc. He also struggled to break down the defense with his handles and failed to get into the paint on more than one occasion.
However, this was just one game and a Summer League contest at that. Plus, Ball did show flashes of his overall talent and high skill level. That’s why, based off this one game, it will likely just take some time before Ball finds his rhythm in the NBA and perhaps even live up to his father’s prophecy of winning the Rookie of the Year award.