by Brad Botkin
Lonzo Ball‘s Summer League spectacle was electric. Packed venues. LeBron James sitting courtside. Every time he touched the ball, the buzzing crowd teetered on eruption. And Ball didn’t disappoint. He was named MVP after leading the Lakers to the Summer League title.
Now that the hype has died down, what does it all mean? Was Ball’s performance as promising as it felt? Was it as discouraging as some numbers suggest? Summer League is tricky because a lot of what we see isn’t going to consistently transfer to an NBA game.
Take Ball’s professional debut, when the Lakers and Clippers combined for 38 turnovers. It was a mess. Loose balls rolling around. Defenses scattered. Even a few playground-style cherry picks. Summer League often resembles an AAU game with chaotic sequences and sloppy play, which can devolve into shot opportunities not as easily found against a structured, disciplined defense. Ball made 2 of 15 shots in that game. Here’s the first: