There are a lot of things out of Lonzo Ball‘s control right now.
On Jan. 19 he went down with a sprained ankle that was beyond his control, a grade 3 sprain with a bone bruise that ultimately has shut him down for the season. Ball has played in 99 of a possible 164 games over two seasons with the Lakers due to injury
Or the fact that Ball’s name came up in trade rumors around the deadline, linked to the Lakers’ all-to-public quest for Anthony Davis.
Ball told Shams Charania of The Athletic that he is just working to control what he can. That means recovering now so he is healthy and can grow his game this summer.
“I’m very, very motivated,” Ball told The Athletic. “I want to be the best I can be. I’m looking forward to this summer. I don’t look at it as added pressure, because I haven’t had a full summer yet to dedicate to myself. I have to keep working on my craft. I’m just happy that I’m going to be healthy.
“It’s been frustrating. This is the second year that this has happened. But I have to stay positive, stay motivated.”
As for the trade rumors, which will undoubtedly kick up again around the draft, it’s the same philosophy.
“At the end of the day, you can only control the things that you can control,” Ball told The Athletic. “If I get traded, then I get traded. But I’m going to be ready to go. The goal is to be the best player I can for whichever team.”
Ball and LeBron James seemed to be developing chemistry this season, the Lakers had a +3.1 net rating when they were paired (that’s better than LeBron had with Brandon Ingram or Kyle Kuzma, although there is a lot of noise in that stat). That said, Magic Johnson and the Lakers are big game hunting this summer and if Ball can be part of a trade to land them a star, he will be on the first plane out of town. That’s the business.
But Ball knows he will be coming up on his rookie contract extension soon, and he knows he needs to improve his shot and halfcourt skills — plus stay healthy — if he is going to get the kind of payday he wants. It’s work. But at least this summer Ball should be healthy enough to put the work in.