Lonzo Ball once wanted nothing more than to play for the Lakers, but now he sounds excited for a fresh start in New Orleans.
The fit was clear, even as his father LaVar attempted to “speak it into existence”, so it was a no-brainer for the Los Angeles Lakers to take Lonzo Ball No. 2 overall in the 2017 draft. Two injury-hampered seasons in, Ball went to the New Orleans Pelicans as part of the trade that brought Anthony Davis to the Lakers.
Despite losing their star player, the Pelicans have plenty of talent in place with No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson as the headliner. But guard Jrue Holiday remains in place, to go with veteran additions J.J. Redick and Derrick Favors as well as Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart joining Ball from the Davis deal and rookie big man Jaxson Hayes.
Playing for the Lakers comes with plenty of attention and drama, with his father adding fuel to the fire a good amount too. Speaking to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk Saturday after filming for the PUBG Mobile Team Up Superstar Showdown event, Ball spoke about the trade.
“I was kind of excited, honestly,” he said. “I kind of figured someone was going to get moved soon enough. I knew Anthony Davis wanted to come bad. Anytime you can get a guy like that, you are going to have to do what you have to do to get him. So I was kind of already just waiting for it, honestly, and I was happy to go with two guys I am comfortable with in B.I. [Brandon Ingram] and JHart [Josh Hart]. I am excited to see what we can do.
“I tell people when I was a rookie, I probably would have been sad,” Ball added of being traded. “Just being from L.A., having my whole family here and wanting to be a Laker. But being in the league for two years, knowing it’s a business, as long you get to play, that’s a blessing in itself. I’m excited to get started.
Over 99 NBA games, Ball has averaged 10.0 points, 6.4 assists, 6.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game while shooting a combined 38 percent from the floor and 31.5 percent from 3-point range in his career. Improvement as a shooter will the key to unlocking a new level for him, and better health would be a great help too as knee and ankle problems have derailed him. A change of scenery also can’t hurt, and Ball is clearly glad to have a fresh start in New Orleans.