When LeBron James is on your team, you better bring your A game every single time you’re on the court, or you could quickly find yourself spending more time on the bench.
The young core at the Los Angeles Lakers will have to meet the expectations of the King if they have any hopes of making the playoffs this upcoming season for the first time in five years.
If there is one player which is doing that already despite the adversity and injury problems he’s already gone through, it’s Lonzo Ball.
Ball underwent surgery on a torn left meniscus in mid-July, and he’s worked on improving his jump shot, as well as training in the weight room in order for him to become a better player.
The point guard’s work this offseason has caught the attention of LeBron, as he stated to the press after Lakers’ practice on Saturday that Lonzo looks like someone that hasn’t been off the court at all this summer.
He said, via ESPN: “I didn’t know he was gonna be full go so fast. He’s been going through live drills the last 2½ days. His bounce is there. His speed is there.”
“So I don’t even know if he even had surgery.”
Despite the fact that Ball has impressed LeBron, Lakers head coach Luke Walton has said the team will not rush him back into action.
Walton said: “We’re gonna be patient. No need to rush it right now. We’ll put minutes restrictions on him as he starts coming back in the preseason. And everything will be, ‘How do you feel?’ the next day, ‘How do you feel?’ that night.
“As long we keep checking those off and he’s fine, the minutes restrictions will go up and up until we decide to get rid of it altogether.
“[There’s] nothing with the injury now. It’s just the fact that he hasn’t played in a long time. We want to make sure we bring him back slow.”
Ball will not play in the Lakers’ preseason opener against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday.