Magic Johnson Believes Lakers’ Lonzo Ball Is Ready To Have A “Breakout Season”
Johnson, president of Los Angeles Lakers basketball operations, was asked about the status of second-year point guard Ball during a news conference at the teams’ practice facility in El Segundo and responded positively about Ball’s offseason recovery and growth as a player.
“His shot looked great.” Johnson said. “He’s going to be ready to have a breakout season and build on what he did last season.”
“The good thing about Lonzo is that he started early. He was in the weight room and we asked him to get stronger and he put in the time. And the one thing we were really blown away by was that he asked us to watch film and we had three or four sessions and he’s starting to understand that he has to be better, which he understood right after the season.” Johnson said.
— Lonzo Wire (@LonzoWire) August 29, 2018
Ball, 20, was the Lakers’ No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. He averaged 10.2 points, 7.2 assists and 6.9 rebounds as a rookie.
During the opening 23 games, Ball shot 31.3 percent from the field and 25 percent from three-point territory. Starting in December and stretching across March, Ball shot 43.6 percent from the field and 39.8 percent from beyond the arc while battling injuries.
Ball closed the year shooting 30.5 percent from the field and 18 percent from range in his final nine games of the season before having his rookie campaign cut short due to injury.
“There was only a couple of things he had to do better.” Johnson said. “And that was drive it to the basket and finish. And get his mid-range shot on balance, it’s not his shot, he just has to be on balance.”
Entering his second season, Ball is making his way back from relatively minor arthroscopic left knee surgery on his torn meniscus. Lakers medical staff declared the procedure a success back in July and cleared him for training camp.
Despite his recovery, Lakers head coach Luke Walton said that Ball wouldn’t participate in full-contact practice when the Lakers open training camp next week.
“He will be in camp participating. He won’t be doing full 5-on-5 contact at camp, at the start of camp,” Walton said. “So we’re starting to ease him into it again, play some one-on-one, things like that, half-court stuff. But with a player of his ability, and how much he’s gonna be a part of our future, the conversation is … take as much time as you need to make sure he’s healthy. We won’t rush him back at all.”