Lonzo Ball electrified the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
He filled the building with Lakers fans who came out to see the guy hyped as a franchise changer. He then showed the hype about his game IQ and passing skills were spot on — he led the Summer League in assists at 9.3 a game. The numbers don’t do justice to what he did for that Lakers squad that made it all the way to the Summer League championship game (which he will sit out with a calf strain) — his passing infected the other players as they ran the court and moved off the ball with real energy. He changed the dynamic of the team, putting up 16.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.5 steals a game — he had two triple-doubles in Las Vegas.
All that earned him the Summer League MVP award, it was announced Monday. It was a good call.
Ball needs to get his shot to fall consistently, and it’s going to be hard to pull off some of the passes he made in Las Vegas against smart and long NBA defenders, but if he can have the cultural change on the Lakers team that he did in Summer League the franchise is headed in the right direction.
Being named MVP is a good sign, although like with everything Summer League be careful about reading too much into this honor. Look at its history. Damian Lillard shared the award with Josh Selby back in 2012, and since then the MVPs have been Jonas Valančiūnas, Glen Rice Jr., Kyle Anderson, and Tyus Jones.
The NBA also announced the All-NBA Summer League Teams on Monday.