When the Lakers have had their new starting lineup on the court — Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma, LeBron James, JaVale McGee — they have outscored opponents by 11.6 points per 100 possessions. They play strong defense giving up less than a point per possession, they are playing at a very fast pace (almost 110 per game) and they have an impressive true shooting percentage of 58.8.
The Los Angeles Lakers will keep Lonzo Ball in the starting lineup Saturday against the San Antonio Spurs when Rajon Rondo returns to the team after serving a three-game suspension, sources told ESPN.
The Lakers went 2-1 in Rondo’s absence with Ball providing steady play on both ends of the court, averaging 12.7 points on 53.6 percent shooting (40 percent from 3), 7.3 assists, 7.0 rebounds and 2.7 steals per game.
This is the right move.
When coach Luke Walton has been asked about why Rondo was the starter to open the season, he would point to Ball missing much of training camp due to knee surgery, and him being on a minutes restriction. Now Ball is healthy, back, and will remain the starter.
He brings a lot at both ends of the floor — he is a physical defender, just ask Denver’s Jamal Murray who Ball hounded relentlessly in the second half of Thursday’s Lakers’ win. Ball also keeps the pace up on offense, attacks, and his jumper now has to be respected.
Saturday night is Brandon Ingram‘s last game on suspension and he will supplant Kuzma in the starting lineup upon his return.