It doesn’t matter what shoes he wears tonight, Lonzo Ball isn’t playing.
He left Sunday’s Las Vegas Summer League semi-final game in the third quarter with what was called “calf tightness, , ” and now the team has officially ruled him out for the championship game Monday night against Portland.
This is not a surprise, and it’s the right thing to do. Ball has shown plenty in Summer League, he is the team’s starting point guard come the regular season, and he has shown the potential to be a guy who can alter the course of the franchise — there’s no reason to push an injury to win Summer League. Winning this banner doesn’t matter (the Bulls won it last year, how did that set them up for the season?).
Both Josh Hard and P.J. Dozier are out for Los Angeles as well. The Lakers will lean on Kyle Kuzma — he has averaged 20.5 points per game to lead the team in Las Vegas — and Vander Blue to get the title.
Ball averaged 16.3 points and 9.5 assists per game in Summer League, and his court vision and IQ — pushing the ball with passes — changed the dynamic of the Laker squad. Players ran the court, moved off the ball, and knew if they worked hard they would get rewarded with looks. Ball also struggled with his shot, shooting 38.5 percent overall and not impressing from three, and he needs to improve that because NBA defenses will make him a scorer to prove he can do it. Bottom line is, he was one of the most exciting players in Summer Leag and a guy that showed a lot of potential. No reason to risk that for a Summer League game if he’s not right.