At the Honda Center on Saturday, a sell-out crowd in Anaheim was decked out in all purple and gold… for a preseason game.
It was not to see a glimpse of Hall of Famer Magic Johnson courtside, nor was it to watch new acquisitions Brook Lopez and Stephen Zimmerman play for the first time in a Lakers jersey. It was to see the number 2 draft pick and Summer League MVP, Lonzo Ball, prove himself to a city that has been left helpless since the departure of Kobe Bryant.
As the Lakers took the stage for the first game of the preseason, all in attendance had their eyes focused on the UCLA star.
Ball finished the night with five points, eight assists and seven rebounds, while leading all Lakers in minutes. The rookie point guard shot just 2 of 9 from the field and saw only 1 of his 5 shots from beyond the arc drop.
From the excess media attention and hype around the Chino Hills native, many expected him to have somewhat of an MVP caliber outing, however, Ball is still a 19 year old learning and growing through each possession, and will only get better as time progresses.
The general consensus on Ball from team management is that he is an exceptional talent, and one that will propel the Lakers into postseason contention once again. The kid’s ceiling is high, and his preseason debut should not distract Lakers fans from the inevitable star that Lonzo will become.