When the Los Angeles Lakers drafted point guard Lonzo Ball out of UCLA with the No. 2 overall pick, it signified a ‘changing of the guard’ within the franchise, as Ball is the first young true pass-first point guard the Lakers have had since Magic Johnson.
Ball’s impact was seen immediately in the Las Vegas Summer League, as his passing became contagious and the Lakers ended up winning their first-ever Summer League Championship.
It was unknown if that impact would be able to carry over to the season though, as very few rookies are able to come into the league and change a team’s style of play right away.
The Lakers are off to a 2-2 start though after Wednesday night’s 102-99 overtime win over the previously unbeaten Washington Wizards. After the game Ball commented on the team’s passing habits, and he believes that it is in fact starting to become contagious.
“It is getting contagious,” Ball said. “Like I said when we play together, for one, we are fun to watch and for two, we give ourselves a lot better chance of winning. Like I said it starts on defense, first and foremost. Earlier we forced a lot of shots. Against New Orleans we forced a lot of shots down the stretch, tonight was a lot better.”
Ball currently ranks fifth in the NBA in assists at 9.0 per game, behind only All-Stars Russell Westbrook, John Wall, James Harden and LeBron James.
So far this season Ball’s shot has not been falling for him, so it is nice to see him making an impact in other ways, and it is also nice to see his teammates buying into the pass-first mentality.
The Lakers next take the court on Friday when they take on another Eastern Conference powerhouse in the Toronto Raptors.