LeBron James told Lakers he’s excited to play with Lonzo Ball
Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball did not catch Kobe Bryant’s last flight, as he came into the NBA a year later than the Black Mamba’s last season in the league. Assuming he’s not going to be traded this offseason, Ball will have his chance of playing alongside another surefire future first-ballot Hall of Famer with LeBron James agreeing to a four-year deal with the Lakers.
Being teammates with a player of LeBron’s caliber definitely brings excitement to Ball, but it also appears that the feeling is mutual, per Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.
All that said, LeBron did tell the Lakers on Saturday night that he likes Lonzo’s game and is excited to play with him.
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 2, 2018
Ball is coming off an up-and-down rookie campaign in which he averaged 10.2 points, 7.2 assists, and 6.9 rebounds per game. Although Ball chipped in a little bit of everything for the Lakers last season, a consistent jump shot and deadly outside sniping were not among those he brought to the table, as he shot just 42.0 percent from the field and had a horrendous 36.0 percent from beyond the arc.
Lonzo Ball is still only 20, turning 21 this October, so he’ll have plenty of time to improve on his shortcomings. The former UCLA Bruins point guard will have to show marked improvements this coming season if he also wants the Lakers to consider guaranteeing his contract beyond 2019. The Lakers have a club option on Ball for each of the next two seasons (2019-20 and 2020-21) which they may or may not exercise.
Having LeBron James, who has a penchant for elevating his teammates’ performances, could just be what the doctor order for taking Ball’s game to the next level.