The Lakers have gotten out and run this preseason, averaging 112.2 possessions per game, sixth fastest in the league and 10 possessions a night faster than they played last season. While the Lakers will not keep up that pace once defenses get serious, they project to be one of the faster teams in the league.
Lonzo Ball would certainly help with that. Ball relentlessly pushes the pace, is at his best passing in transition, and his look-ahead passes get the team a couple buckets a game. Ball has been practicing with the team but has not played in a preseason game yet as he rehabs from off-season knee surgery, however, that could change next Wednesday in Las Vegas according to Lakers’ sideline reporter Mike Trudell.
Ball also has reportedly smoothed out the release on his jump shot, which would be one of the big keys to his development this season. His passing, his game IQ and his defense have been what the Lakers’ hoped when drafting him No. 2. However, his lack of ability to score has diminished him as a threat. A better release on his jump shot is part of it (him finishing better in the paint is the other).
How Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and Josh Hart blend with LeBron James is going to be one of the most-watched things around the Lakers this season. Pace will be another — the Lakers are playing fast, LeBron says he wants to play fast, but will that continue as we get into December and beyond? LeBron in the past has liked to slow the half-court game down a little and use his insanely-high basketball IQ and passing skills to pick teams apart, will the Lakers revert to more of that or keep running? (That pace could vary a little by unit/lineup, too.)