Markelle Fultz might have been the number 1 pick overall in the NBA draft, but the most talked about prospect for the past few months has been Lonzo Ball. Magic Johnson declared him the leader of the Lakers and stated that his jersey would be hanging from the rafters one day but, based on his first game in the summer league, we may wanna pump the brakes on these predictions.
Now I am in no way saying that Lonzo Ball is a bust after one meaningless summer league performance, but the flaws in his game have made a glaring appearance in his first action. He showed off his elite passing ability on his first touch of the game, and showed his quickness and vision throughout the 32 minutes he played. He showed some flashes of brilliance in his game and he will pick up the pace soon, but first impression means a lot and his was not good.
He was only able to score 5 points in his debut as a Laker on 2 of 15 shooting. He went 1 of 8 from behind the arch. Yes he had 4 assists, but that went along with 3 turnovers. All of those things are bound to happen to a rookie but there is one stat that stands out to me more than any other. He did not go to the free throw line one time during the game.
A point guard as quick and as skilled as he is should be going to the line 8 to 10 times a game at a minimum. He showed in college that he can finish through contact but he seemed much more passive in driving than the usual Lonzo Ball. He was not afraid to shoot the ball at all, and when you are having the kind of night he was having from the field, he needed to get some easy baskets in the paint to build some confidence.
This is a summer league opener and the speed of the game is much different from a regular season game in college, but Lonzo seemed to have quite a bit of trouble getting everything moving in the game. He is going to be a good player for a long time in the league, but all of the Laker fans that turned out to watch a “potential Hall of Famer” left a little uneasier than when they walked in the building