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LeBron James says Lakers are missing Lonzo Ball

Lakers, LeBron James, Lonzo Ball

Los Angeles Lakers superstar small forward LeBron James says the team is missing second-year point guard Lonzo Ball on both ends of the floor right now.

Ball has been out since Jan. 21 with a Grade 3 left ankle sprain. The Lakers have gone just 3-6 since then.

“We have a huge piece still not with us, in Lonzo, that’s a huge piece of our team,” James said, via Jacob Rude of Lonzo Wire. “So until then, we have to continue to work throughout our film sessions, throughout our shootarounds.”

Prior to Ball’s injury, the Lakers held a defensive rating of 105.9, ranking them sixth-best in the league. Since that injury, the Lakers defensive rating has plummeted down to 119.6. Ball’s injury isn’t the only factor in the Lakers’ defense taking a downturn, but it certainly is a big factor.

In 47 games this season for the Lakers, Ball is averaging 9.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists per contest. The 21-year-old is shooting 40.6 percent from the field, 32.9 percent from beyond the arc and 41.7 percent from the free-throw line.

Los Angeles is missing Ball the most on defense. The former No. 2 overall pick is one of the best on-ball defenders in the NBA and the numbers show the team is a way better defensive team when Lonzo is playing.

On Jan. 21, LA said Ball would be out four-to-six weeks.