When the Los Angeles Lakers evaluated their roster heading into the 2017-18 season, they understood that they needed an unselfish playmaker on the court. That decision ultimately led to the Lakers drafting Lonzo Ball No. 2 overall during the 2017 NBA Draft.
Ball is a transcendent talent, with expectations to live to up to Hall-of-Fame talents Magic Johnson and Jason Kidd. The scenario seems quite similar to Johnson’s, as he is seen as the key piece that can gel this team and take them to the next level.
Alongside the likes of Brandon Ingram, Brook Lopez, and Julius Randle, Ball will be able to facilitate plenty of easy baskets and decisions that will lead to scoring opportunities.
During this offseason, Randle and his teammates have been hard at work at the UCLA Training Health Center, improving their overall game and getting acclimated to one another. During media day, Randle was asked about his chemistry with Ball thus far and Randle stated that it is rubbing off on his teammates:
“It’s great. It’s contagious. Honestly, getting up and down, everybody throwing the ball ahead, moving on fast breaks. It’s contagious. So everybody is really excited to get on the court.”
Ball certainly adds to that demeanor and playing style, especially once he takes the keys to Luke Walton’s up-tempo offense. Even at a tender age of 19, his basketball IQ and court awareness are years ahead of expectations, with a knack for finding the open man. During his freshman season at UCLA, Ball averaged 7.6 assists per game with less talent around him.
With a spaced out offense, headlined by Lopez and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s ability to shoot threes, the Lakers will find plenty of gaps and angles through their offense. That will also heavily benefit Randle, who is continually putting in work on his jump shot, but also can attack the basket and not settle for anything less than a lay-up.
This selfless approach is a great quality to see for head coach Luke Walton and his staff, as the ultimate sign of success for the upper-echelon teams is when their offense is about creating the best possible shot.