Although his season was cut short, Lonzo Ball lived up to the hype in this year’s Las Vegas Summer League.
The first and foremost general could be described as typical anticipation for what was to come and if Ball would truly be able to lead this team to a winning culture.
There was excitement to witness how the 6’6” UCLA phenom would indeed live up to not only the expectations of others, but, more importantly, the acclaim from his dad LaVar Ball. However, it was cautioned by many to not become overly excited, because of the repeated mistake in the NBA of overrating players who have nothing to show for it.
So, everyone, including myself, waited.
Seeing Lonzo Ball and Markelle Fultz go head-to-head in Summer League was the most anticipated event. In fact, that is what Summer League is all about—–getting a glimpse of what the new class of rookies would offer to their respective teams this upcoming season. But Lonzo Ball gave NBA fans more than just a glimpse, it was more like a prelude to a presumably successful season with the Lakers next season.
However, he did get off to a rocky start, which introduced the next emotion—–doubt, maybe disappointment. In his Summer League debut, Ball only scored 5 points with three turnovers and was 2-15 in shooting. Thoughts of Lonzo Ball not being what everyone expected were very prevalent.
Lonzo ball already a bust struggling in summer league … 😂
— Mekhi❄️ (@Yoookhii) July 9, 2017
Lonzo Ball completely flipped the script in the following games. An impressive triple-double (11 points, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds) against the Boston Celtics steered Ball in the right direction. Optimism began to slowly emerge. It was even more gradual though, because Ball’s success wasn’t guaranteed anymore.
Then “the moment” happened. On the night of the ESPY’s where the sports world was being honored and in front of the eyes of LeBron James who attended the game, Lonzo Ball erupted. After trailing the Philadelphia 76ers, Lonzo Ball literally carried his team on his back to win. Ending the night with 36 points, 11 assists, 8 rebounds, and 5 steals, Lonzo Ball superseded everyone’s presumed thoughts about him.
He devoured expectations while impressively showcasing his potential (while not rocking Big Baller Brand), which leads to the next emotion——sheer amazement.
Thus, it made sense to not play Ball in the Summer League Final and not risk further injury ( calf strain). He’s proven his capabilities and basically led his team to the Final. Even more impressive, Lonzo Ball is the first rookie in NBA Summer League history to have more than one game with 10 assists and score a triple-double, per ESPN Stats and Info.
So, Ball winning the Summer League MVP and the Lakers winning it all wasn’t surprising at all. It just pressed play on a highly-anticipated season for the fresh Lakers culture that’s driven and controlled by Lonzo Ball (regardless of what shoes he decided to wear).
photo credit:Sports Illustrated