Lonzo Ball confirmed he will make his preseason debut on Wednesday night when the Los Angeles Lakers face the Golden State Warriors at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. To no surprise, Ball will appear off the bench.
“Between 10 and 30, right in between there,” answered head coach Luke Walton when asked how many minutes Ball may play in his return. “For now, it’s just getting him out there and playing with the guys in a game setting, getting comfortable with some of the new teammates he has.
“A lot of the time we spend in practice, he’s been with the second unit playing against the first unit, so to be able to mix and match that a little bit, have them play on the floor together, will be good for him.”
The game will be Ball’s first since late March, as his rookie season was cut short due to persistent knee trouble. He then underwent arthroscopic surgery in July, which interrupted his offseason training.
Ball was said to have made a full recovery at the time training camp begin, the Lakers nonetheless remained cautious with clearing him for contact and scrimmages. “It feels like a long time. I’m very happy to get back on the court finally,” Ball said of his return.
“It gets frustrating when you play basketball your whole life and then it gets taken away from you for a little bit. I’m happy to be back.”
Ball is confident in the strength and health of his knee, but his conditioning level naturally is trailing behind. “It’s getting better,” he said. “Still not where it needs to be, obviously, just because I’ve been out for so long. It’ll get there.”
Time on the sidelines during the Lakers’ first four preseason games afforded the young point guard an opportunity to analyze areas he could make an impact in. “We’ve been kind of taking a dip on the second team, so I’ll be able to help that out,” Ball said. “Rondo and LeBron are going to lead us. I’m going to take the second team and try to lead them.”
That he’s due to play in a game against the uptempo Warriors further excites Ball. “It’s going to be very fun. The way we play, the way they play, it’s going to be up and down, a lot of shots taken,” he said.
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