Sunday, September 24 2023

When the Los Angeles Lakers took Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, fans had very high hopes for him.

He was a local product, having grown up in Chino Hills about half an hour away from downtown Los Angeles, and he had done well in his lone season of college basketball at the University of California, Los Angeles.

In his first two seasons, Ball showed some promise, but he was never able to put it together, and in the summer of 2019 he was shipped off to the New Orleans Pelicans in the trade that brought the Lakers Anthony Davis.

While fans were excited about Davis’ arrival, they were sad to see Ball go, and many still have a soft spot for him, as they still wish he were a Laker.

The guard has improved his game since leaving L.A., but he hasn’t played since tearing the meniscus in his left knee in January 2022, and now his current team, the Chicago Bulls, feels his NBA career is over.

If Lakers fans have felt letting go of Ball was a mistake, there is increasing proof that the team made the right decision with him.


Ball simply couldn’t live up to the hype

When Ball entered the NBA, he was one of the most massively hyped players the league had ever seen, and most of the hype came from his father, LaVar Ball.

The elder Ball claimed his son was better than Stephen Curry, who had just helped the Golden State Warriors win their second world championship in three years and was a two-time league MVP.

Many fell for the hype, including then-Lakers executive Magic Johnson, who reportedly made the decision to draft him, not to mention many fans.

Those fans continued to believe that the younger Ball was bound for multiple All-Star appearances even long after he had left the Lakers.


But the 6-foot-6 guard never averaged more than 14.6 points or 7.2 assists per game, and anyone would be hard-pressed to make even one All-Star game with numbers like that.

Then there is the matter of his health.

When healthy, the younger Ball has been not quite a star, but a very good player who is a positive element on the court thanks to his stellar defense, ability to speed up the pace and spot open teammates in the open floor. But he has simply had too many injuries.

There was a sprained shoulder, an MCL sprain and a knee contusion that limited him to 52 games as a rookie. The following year, a sprained ankle in January that looked like perhaps a four-to-six-week injury at worst ended up costing him the balance of the season.


He greatly improved his 3-point shooting after being traded to New Orleans, but his latest ailment has seemed at least a touch mysterious while casting serious doubt on his future in the league.

The Lakers haven’t done a great job of managing assets at times over the last six years, but this was one time when they got it right. It looks like with the younger Ball, they sold high while also ridding themselves of the headache that came with having his father in tow.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire

Source: Yahoo Sports


MLB Power Rankings: Who's been the best player on each team?


Why the Detroit Lions can win the NFC North

Check Also

Pro Sports Media

Trending Now

Justin Verlander offers high praise of Mets organization following trade to Astros

New York Mets starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) follows through on a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning at Citi Field / Brad Penner – USA Today Sports When Justin Verlander signed with the Mets on a two-year, $86 million deal this offseason, he never would’ve expected just a few months […]

Read More

Denver Nuggets’ championship burns Phoenix Suns fans more than anyone

The Denver Nuggets winning the NBA championship is burning Phoenix Suns fans the most. The Nuggets went 16-4 in the 2023 playoffs on their way to the first title in franchise history. The Suns gave them two of those losses, making them the only team to beat Denver twice this postseason. If the Suns had […]

Read More

Robert Horry on Nick Van Exel’s ‘Cancun’ rant in 1998

Before the Los Angeles Lakers started their dynasty in the decade of the 2000s, they had to endure some heart-wrenching playoff losses in the late 1990s. In 1998, they were swept by the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference Finals just when they thought they were becoming the NBA’s next great team. Prior to Game […]

Read More