LAS VEGAS (AP) — It took basketball prospect Lonzo Ball 20 seconds to get a near-capacity crowd off its feet in his first summer league game. Just like LaVar taught him.
Ball’s highly anticipated Los Angeles Lakers debut on Friday night started with a flourish on a perfectly timed lob pass to Brandon Ingram. But that was one of the few bright spots for a player Magic Johnson has dubbed as the new face of the Lakers in a 96-93 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
The No. 2 overall draft pick scored just five points and missed 13 of his 15 shots, to the disappointment of a near-capacity crowd that came out to see him. Leave it to his father to sum up the night with some of his trademark straight talk.
“He don’t be discouraged because that’s the worst he can do,” LaVar Ball said. “He can’t go but up. And he still kept them in the game playing his worst game ever. That’s what I like about it.”
Lonzo Ball was 1 for 11 from 3-point range, including a bad miss from well beyond the line — the kind of daring pull-up the Ball family is known for — with 1:16 to play in regulation.
He was also a little slow to react on defense, including when Brice Johnson made a quick spin past him for a dunk. The Clippers posted the highlight on their Twitter account, calling it a “pretty baller move.”
That’s the kind of target that LaVar’s antics have painted on his son’s back. And it’s much bigger than the purple No. 2 under his name.
“Tough game. We didn’t get the job done,” Lonzo Ball said. “I need to be better.”
Scouts do wonder how that unorthodox shooting stroke will translate to the NBA game. What is not up for debate is the Lakers’ return to must-see status with the pass-first point guard on the trigger and his carnival barker father on the mic.
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