Lonzo Ball looked overmatched during his NBA debut against the Clippers as Patrick Beverley aggressively shut him down. Ball, 19, returned last night to post 29 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in the Lakers‘ win against the Suns. Team president Magic Johnson spoke to USA Today before Ball’s debut and addressed his mindset before the game.
“He’s nervous,” Johnson said. “But he has a demeanor where you don’t know he’s nervous. But tonight, he has the weight of the world on his shoulders.”
It did not take long for Ball to show a glimpse of why he was one of the most highly-anticipated rookies in recent memory. His near triple-double in the Lakers’ 132-130 win over Phoenix show his potential is off the charts. While one game does not define Ball or what his career will be like, it’s clear that he still has support from Lakers brass and it will stay that way for years to come.
“Last year he was the most efficient college basketball player,” Johnson said. “And now that he’s come to the pros, he’s been — ever since we drafted him — he’s been a great young man, a great teammate. His teammates, they love him. Love him. Those were the things I was looking for (before drafting him).
Check out other news around the Pacific Division:
- Chris Paul has been mostly silent on why he left the Clippers to play for the Rockets. However, in a recent documentary, Paul said his former team’s “culture” is one reason he left, claiming the team did not do enough to compete with Golden State, Elliot Teaford of The Orange County Register writes. Clippers coach Doc Rivers fired back, saying, “I don’t think you have to try to burn the house down or justify why you left. That’s what I would say to it. I like our culture.”
- Julius Randle looked lackadaisical on defense and offense in the Lakers’ season-opener, which led to a stern talk from head coach Luke Walton, Bill Oram of The Orange County Register writes. Whether it’s frustration over losing the starting spot or not being in game shape, Randle’s performance on Thursday was alarming.
- Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee spoke with Kings‘ general manager Vlade Divac, who gave his thoughts on every player on Sacramento’s roster.
- The Kings hired former WNBA coach and player Jenny Boucek as an assistant player development coach, according to the Associated Press.