Los Angeles Lakers

Lonzo Ball’s presence alone is rejuvenating L.A.

Granted Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball has not played in an actual NBA game yet, the hype surrounding the young man continues to go up.

Lonzo Ball has not played a single minute in an actual NBA game yet for the Los Angeles Lakers. Even supposing that truth, the attention the young man continues to garner is otherworldly.

This kind of vibe has not been felt around the city in quite a few years. Lonzo’s team has been more of a circus act at times over the course of that span more than anything else. In spite of that, it is feasible that the addition of Ball could change Los Angeles’ woes.

That was already hinted at during Summer League competition when he averaged a rock solid 9.3 assists per game. It is precisely why the teenager was bestowed with MVP honors.

It is not like, though, this is anything new per se. The Lakers’ new point guard is known for his ability to pass the dime with precision, and, certainly, some pizzazz.

Ryan Smith of the Daily Bruin  recognizes this element of Ball’s game and how he can help Los Angeles’ stock go up.

His creativity with the basketball and ability to push the ball up the court in just seconds forces the defense to get back into position much more quickly than normal teams would. This skill will be valuable in the NBA, considering how much faster the professional game has become in the past few years.

The latter point Smith addresses is a critical one because, indeed, the pace of the modern day game has elevated. It is why team President Magic Johnson has been tossing so much praise toward Ball. Ball has the ability to not only make an accurate pass, but execute one that manifests itself in a deuce near the rim.

Needless to say, Johnson did this quite a bit in his heyday during the Showtime era. Thus, if Lonzo can bring a similar style of play into the fall, the purple-and-gold will be exciting to watch.

Basketball is all about getting everyone involved, yet the Lakers have been in desperate need of a floor general who makes those around him look as good as the ball distributor. Ball definitely brings this unique quality to the ball club.

Bob Garcia IV of ClutchPoints concurs with this well. As a matter of fact, the writer remarks that Lonzo’s tendencies border on the “infectious” side of the spectrum.

It is hard to argue with such a word choice although it may seem a tad prettied up in scope. During Summer League play, Zo was slinging passes that made Magic and GM Rob Pelinka high five one another on the sidelines.

Granted Ball’s court vision is off the charts, the same cannot be said yet about his defense. He has been known to get lit up on that end from time to time, and his skinnier frame is partially why.

Provided that the Lakers signed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to a one-year pact, any lapses from Ball on defense may not always matter. Caldwell-Pope’s best strength arguably comes on the defensive end.

It is not to say Lonzo’s only skill is that sky high assist ratio, either. The man averaged over 16 points per game as well to go along with seven plus boards. Those numbers certainly account for the pair of triple-doubles he collected.

Of course, those triple-doubles are meaningless in theory. They simply do not carry a smorgasbord of weight and prove what Lonzo will be able to do at the NBA level. That is yet to be determined.

However, the all-around game he put on display has still energized an otherwise dead fan base. Once legendary shooting guard Kobe Bryant retired, the purple-and-gold were without an impact player.

Ball’s sheer potential, though, insinuates that he could be that type of guy.

According to J.A. Adande of ESPN, Ball brings a certain “‘It’ factor” to L.A. that has not been seen since the Mamba left.

This aforesaid “it” factor branches beyond on the court statistics. A lot of it connects with nothing more than perception at this point, and perhaps, too, an unquenchable level of hope.

Small glimpses of past greats have led to this perception. And while Ball’s game has shown that without a doubt, he has done all of this in a quieter way.

The young man is very simple and businesslike in nature, essentially an antithesis to how Hollywood stars tend to operate. In any case, though, all people know right now is that this individual knows how to ball, pun intended.

This knowledge has caused more and more people to want to see what all the hype is about. A recent update from Adande appears to prove that claim even more so.

The Los Angeles Lakers sold out the remaining 5 percent of their season-ticket inventory this week. All gone. The Lakers had 95 percent renewal from their season-ticket holders before the draft, but now that Lonzo Ball is a Laker — and fresh off his tantalizing summer league run — they hit capacity. After a seat-viewing open house at Staples Center, fans bought up the 600 available seats. (Last year’s event yielded about 175 ticket sales).

Personally, it seems a little bit crazy that someone who is not even drinking age is generating this much love. It speaks to how hungry Lakers fans are.

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L.A. has always been linked to having high, if not impossible standards. Magic and Bryant represent a mere morsel of these astronomical expectations. Nothing short of spectacular is what the Lakers are all about.

Given that Lonzo is a local product, too, the expectations are only bound to be even further up there. Thankfully, Ball is pretty used to all eyes being on him.

Johnson understands this by virtue of how many eyes were on him during the 1980s. In terms of Lonzo, number 32 thinks that the 19-year-old will not let the stress get to his head. Here’s what Johnson said to Jeff Miller of the OCRegister.com.

“Now he gets to play for his favorite team in his hometown. So there’s pressure that comes with that. But the great ones eat pressure for breakfast, right? He is a guy that just plays his game. Nothing is going to change.”

In all likelihood, it is feasible that the pressure could have an effect early on. The pace of the NBA versus that of college ball is much different.

That possibility does not alter the feverishness one bit at this stage. Enthusiasm is clearly tangible in the City of Angels, and a kid named Lonzo Ball remains the vocal point.

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