Point guard Lonzo Ball is still out and it doesn’t seem like he will be back on the court for the Lakers this season.
All signs point to the second-year point guard sitting the rest of the season. Lakers head coach Luke Walton spoke to reporters on Friday afternoon and made it clear that Ball isn’t close to returning, though he will be re-evaluated by doctors tomorrow:
“It’s almost getting to the point where the true value comes from, ‘Let’s get him as healthy as possible so he has however many months this summer to really expand and keep working on his game.'”
This update isn’t surprising, as just a few days ago Ball was barely able to jump and he hasn’t rejoined the team in any basketball capacity.
Lonzo Ball has been out of action since spraining his ankle in a 138-134 overtime loss against the Rockets on January 19. Ball suffered the injury in the third quarter, he was unable to put pressure on the ankle and had to be carried off the court by his teammates.
The Lakers then announced that Ball would miss four to six weeks after an MRI revealed a Grade 3 sprain. The full six-week timetable would have put him on track to return last Friday but last Tuesday Lakers beat reporter Mike Trudell said Ball is still limited to light shooting and work with athletic trainers.
Ball has missed the last 18 games and the Lakers are just 5-13 in those contests, falling 6.5 games behind the Clippers for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference with just 17 games left in the regular season.
The 21-year-old is averaging 9.9 points, 5.4 assists and 5.3 rebounds in 30.3 minutes over 47 games this season.
How Much Are the Lakers Missing Lonzo Ball?
It’s clear that the Lakers have missed Ball badly, while he’s not a talented scorer yet, his defense and playmaking ability made a difference for the team. Ball’s absence is a big reason why the Lakers will miss the playoffs.
LeBron James suffering a groin injury on Christmas Day and missing a significant amount of time didn’t help, the constant trade rumors undoubtedly affected the team’s chemistry and they lost winnable games but Ball is missed on both ends of the floor.
Ball is a pass-first point guard so his ability to push the pace and get the team to offense quickly is something that the Lakers are severely lacking. Rajon Rondo is a talented player but he isn’t as effective as Ball when it comes to playing off LeBron James and Brandon Ingram and no other player has been capable of replicating the little things that Ball does on defense.
The second-year point guard can read offenses, cut passing lanes, make steals and guard multiple positions. Before his injury the Lakers ranked seventh in defensive rating at 106.3, since then they are at 109.1.