Los Angeles Lakers second-year star guard, Lonzo Ball hasn’t played a game of basketball since the spring of last season. Ball, who ended his season last year with a knee injury, spent the majority of his summer rehabbing. As he pushed through and tried to return by the Lakers preseason opener last week, he wasn’t feeling one-hundred percent.
This week is a different story though. On Wednesday, the Lakers will take on the Golden State Warriors, and Lonzo Ball will officially make his preseason debut for 2018. And for the first time, we will get a sneak peek at Lonzo Ball and LeBron James on the court together as teammates, rather than opponents.
As Lonzo will make his debut on Wednesday, everybody should know that what you see against the Warriors will be entirely different by the time the regular season tips off. As Lonzo is healthy enough to be cleared to play, there will be a different look for his spot on the team and a few restrictions for him. Here’s what to expect for Lonzo Ball’s return.
He Won’t See Full Time Minutes
This is rather obvious. When Lonzo Ball was asked how many minutes he will be playing on Wednesday, he was unsure of the answer. When a reporter threw out “20 minutes?” Ball’s responded with “20 minutes would be great.”
Lakers head coach Luke Walton wouldn’t give a definitive answer on Ball’s minutes for Wednesday. Walton said that Ball could see his minutes being anywhere ranging from ten minutes to thirty minutes. Assuming he probably won’t see a full 30 minutes, then 20 would probably be a good guess for him, even though Ball’s response felt as if that could be a stretch.
Ball Is Still Not 100% in Shape
Half the battle with returning back from a significant injury is getting back into game shape. Since Lonzo Ball was dealing with a lower-body injury, it makes it very difficult for him to be able to practice at the speed that he wants to while still rehabbing.
The Lakers are expected to pick up the pace this season and be a much-quicker team, which can become a challenge to Lonzo since he still isn’t in 100% game shape. Wednesday’s game should be a good stepping stone for Ball’s conditioning as he still has some time to get back into shape as the regular season approaches.
He Will Be Coming off the Bench
There have been steady debates this offseason about whether Lonzo Ball will start for the Lakers or not. Some believe that as a second-overall pick, he should be the starting guard. Others feel that he would be better suited coming off the bench.
Regardless of what happens after the preseason, don’t expect to see Lonzo Ball in the starting lineup right now. With what will most likely be a minutes restriction on him, Lonzo will definitely be coming off the bench during his debut.
Don’t rule him out of being on the court with LeBron, though. Luke Walton stated that Lonzo will get some time with the starters, despite mostly practicing with the two’s throughout the entire offseason. They will use Ball’s preseason minutes to get some game reps with the ones so he can feel comfortable and get into a groove with them, as he hasn’t really had the chance over to do so over the offseason.
Source: Heavy Sports