Bulls Lonzo Ball Sounds Off on Lakers Star LeBron James

Lonzo Ball, LeBron James

Getty Lonzo Ball, LeBron James

Before joining the Chicago Bulls, Lonzo Ball was playing for his hometown team, the Los Angeles Lakers, after they had selected him with the second overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft. 

In his sophomore season, Ball found himself becoming teammates with LeBron James, as the superstar forward made his move across the country for his first foray into the Western Conference.

Ball lasted one more season with the Lakers before he was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans as part of the Anthony Davis trade that also saw Brandon Ingram heading south. 

During an August 31 appearance on CBS Los Angeles, Ball finally opened up on what it was like to share the floor with LeBron, and what he learned from being around arguably the greatest player of all time on a day-to-day basis.

Legends: Lonzo BallLonzo Ball, the highly touted Chino Hills product who starred at UCLA, was selected by the Lakers with the 2nd overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Jill Painter-Lopez spoke with Lonzo about his days with the Purple and Gold.2022-08-31T00:58:07Z

“My favorite player growing up. You know, just being on the court with him and learn from him, you know, was a time in my life I’ll never get back, and I’ll never take for granted,” Ball said.

Ball is now considered to be a key component of the Chicago Bulls roster, after the team moved to acquire him during the summer of 2021, sending Garrett Temple, Tomas Satoransky, and a 2024 second-round draft pick to the Pelicans as part of a sign-and-trade deal. 

Ball Expected to Miss Start of 2022 NBA Season

On January 14, Ball suffered a knee injury that resulted in a bone bruise and meniscus tear, causing him to undergo surgery. At the time, the impressive guard was expected to return in time for the playoffs, but due to some setbacks in the recovery process, he remained on the injury list as the Bulls came up short.

According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelbourne, Ball is still not ready to return to basketball activities and is expected to miss the start of Chicago’s season – meaning he will also miss the entirety of their training camp.

“They thought they were going to have Lonzo Ball back. But, from what I’m told, he’s going to miss training camp and the beginning of the regular season because that knee that he had surgery on in January just – the knee is structurally sound. But he has the type of recovery and injury that – he’s been to a ton of specialists where they’ve all tried to figure out what going on with him – but he’s still experiencing pain and discomfort in that leg,” Shelbourne explained during a September 7 appearance on ESPN’s NBA Today.

Are the BULLS the biggest question mark in the East? | NBA TodayRamona Shelburne joins NBA Today to discuss the biggest question mark in the Eastern Conference. ☑️ Subscribe to ESPN+: plus.espn.com/ 📱Get the ESPN App: espn.com/espn/apps/espn 🏀 Subscribe to NBA on ESPN on YouTube: bit.ly/2yxs3Og ☑️Subscribe to ESPN on YouTube: es.pn/SUBSCRIBEtoYOUTUBE ☑️Watch ESPN on YouTube TV: es.pn/YouTubeTV2022-09-07T20:21:21Z

Given Ball’s ability to orchestrate an offense, carve open defenses, and stretch the floor with his much-improved three-point shooting, the Bulls are somewhat reliant on his production if they continue to hold out hope of finishing next season with a high seed and making a deep playoff run. As such, being cautious with the star guard’s return to action is the most logical approach.

Ayo Dosunmu Can Help Fill The Void

As the Bulls gear up to begin their new season without Lonzo Ball in their rotation, all eyes will be on sophomore guard, Ayo Dosunmu, as he looks to continue his own development and prove he deserves a spot in the rotation – even when the roster is fully healthy.

Of course, Dosunmu isn’t a point guard (he’s more of a two) and is unlikely to fill Ball’s role, but given his production level, his performances will go a long way to dispelling some of the drop off that Ball’s absence could cause. Luckily, Dosunmu appears to be up for the challenge, as on September 12, the second-year guard discussed how he’s been working on his basketball IQ and ability to read the game during an interview with SportsZone Chicago.

What's Up, Cuz?!?! (9.12)"What’s up Cuz?!?!" with Coach Lance C. Irvin and Journalist Jason Palmer. Check in with Lance and Jason as they discuss all the hot Chicago and world of sports topics!! SZC is Chicago's Hottest Sports Talk and Podcast App!!! Download the SportsZone Chicago App available NOW in the iTunes, Google play and Amazon Stores!! Also,…2022-09-13T01:42:41Z

“Just try to be better in every aspect because I watch a lot of film. I did a lot of studying on my game on how I can prepare myself to be better…try to do what I always do: play the game the right way. Defend, score, facilitate. Just be a better version of myself…It’s all about the mind. You have to put a lot of work in. In the weight room, lot of film sessions. You have to be prepared because the NBA is a whole different game than college,” Dosunmu said.

Considering Ball’s greatest asset is his passing ability and how he reads the floor, it bodes well for Dosunmu that he’s working on a similar area of his game – as he can continue to learn from the Los Angeles native once he returns to the rotation and is back in practice at the team facility. Until then, all eyes will be on Coby White, Alex Caruso, and Dosunmu, as they try to fill Ball’s shoes to begin the season.
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