Lonzo Ball was in El Segundo on Wednesday for an individual pre-draft workout with the Lakers, and though the drills took place behind closed doors, Ball met with the media afterward to discuss his potential fit with the franchise.
When asked what he could bring to the team to help turn it around, Ball didn’t hesitate to mention his strengths.
“They have a lot of good players,” he said. “I just think they need a leader, a point guard, and I feel I can bring that to the team.”
It’s fair to say a young team like the Lakers could use a leader; veteran shooting guard Lou Williams was the team’s leading scorer last season before being traded to the Rockets, and he came off the bench in all but one of his 58 appearances.
The part about L.A. needing a point guard, however, could draw some raised eyebrows from some of the players already on the roster.
D’Angelo Russell has been running the point for the Lakers the past couple of seasons, since being selected with the second overall pick in 2015. The 21-year-old averaged 15.6 points and 4.8 assists in the role last year. L.A. has experimented with him playing off the ball as well, and he’s shown he may be able to be even more effective as a two-guard in those situations. His shooting numbers were up significantly when he played alongside another creator on the court.
Lonzo wasn’t taking a shot at Russell here, intentionally or otherwise. He was simply pointing out how he could fit if the Lakers select him second overall, and if Russell is open to playing more without the ball in his hands as he did near the end of the 2016-17 season, the two could combine to be an extremely effective backcourt duo for years to come.