Lonzo Ball is not going to let the Lakers rollercoaster off-season deter him from recovering from his injury. The former UCLA prospect knows he may be the center of trade talks, but he’d rather focus on recovering from his injury and improving his game.
Ball addressed the situation with Sham Charania of the Athletic:
“I’m very, very motivated. I want to be the best I can be. I’m looking forward to this summer. I don’t look at it as added pressure, because I haven’t had a full summer yet to dedicate to myself. I have to keep working on my craft. I’m just happy that I’m going to be healthy. It’s been frustrating. This is the second year that this has happened. But I have to stay positive, stay motivated.”
The 2017 NBA Summer League MVP was playing well before he went down with an ankle injury against the Rockets. His absence was well noticed by analysts and fans after the Lakers fell from 5th to 10th place and their defense dropped dramatically.
Ball has a bright future ahead of him, but the up-and-down status of the Lakers may not be the best place for the young talent to hone his skills. Ball had this to say when addressing the trade possibilities that linger around him in the Purple and Gold:
“At the end of the day, you can only control the things that you can control. If I get traded, then I get traded. But I’m going to be ready to go. The goal is to be the best player I can for whichever team.”
Things further downhill after Ball’s injury when his name was brought up in a possible trade package with the Pelicans for Anthony Davis which turned out to be a trick by the Pelicans to shake up the Lakers. The problem is, it worked and Ball is now feeling unstable with the team.
If Ball is going to play to his fullest potential, he should focus on his recovery rather than the circus that is the Lakers off-season trading rumors.
Ball and LeBron James seemed to be developing chemistry this season, the Lakers had a +3.1 net rating when they were paired (that’s better than LeBron had with Brandon Ingramor Kyle Kuzma, although there is a lot of noise in that stat). That said, Magic Johnson and the Lakers are big game hunting this summer and if Ball can be part of a trade to land them a star, he will be on the first plane out of town. That’s the business.
But Ball knows he will be coming up on his rookie contract extension soon, and he knows he needs to improve his shot and halfcourt skills — plus stay healthy — if he is going to get the kind of payday he wants. It’s work. But at least this summer Ball should be healthy enough to put the work in.