LAS VEGAS — Lonzo Ball will not play in Monday night’s summer league championship game due to a mild calf strain in his right leg, ending his impressive Las Vegas run.
Ball was hopeful after the game that he would be able play after treatment, and the Lakers sounded optimistic.
“This is the first time my calf got tight,” Ball said after the game. “Just being cautious. I wanted to get back out there but the training staff is going to take care of me.”
Ball was asked if this were the regular season, would he returned to the game in the second half against Dallas after the calf strain.
“I think it depends on the game,” Ball said. “Obviously it is summer league so it probably not worth the risk.”
The Lakers will play it safe with the No. 2 overall pick, having seen the rookie shine in the Las Vegas summer league. They shut down last year’s second overall pick, Brandon Ingram, after the swingman suffered a cramp at the end of regulation in the Lakers’ opening game for precautionary reasons.
Ball has recorded two triple-doubles and four games with 10 assists or more. No other rookie in Las Vegas summer league history has had more than one game with 10 assists and no other rookie has ever had a triple-double here, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Ball created a stir during summer league with his choice of shoes for each game. He wore his Big Baller Brand shoes in the first two games before playing in Kobe Bryant Nikes, James Harden Adidas, Stephen Curry Under Armours and finally a pair of Air Jordan XXXI’s on Sunday.
But what really had several executives and coaches around the league buzzing, and the Lakers giddy, was Ball’s “elite” passing, vision and point guard play. He averaged 16.3 points, a summer league-leading 9.3 assists, 7.7 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.0 blocks per game.
One area Ball struggled in was his perimeter shooting. He shot just 10-of-42 from 3-point range although he hit his first two 3’s and was two-of-three from beyond the arc before getting hurt on Sunday.
“It was the first time I was making shots,” Ball said of making five-of-seven shots against Dallas before the injury. “I felt good.”
LaVar Ball said his son doesn’t need to tinker with his shooting form in a radio interview on Monday on Mornings with Keyshawn, Jorge and LZ on ESPN LA 710.
“Oh, ain’t nobody tinkering with his shot. He’s going to shoot the same way, comfortable, like I said, who cares about his shot,” LaVar said.
“Here’s the thing, he missed a lot of shots in the first few games. They act like the percentage is going to stay there. He’ll go about four or five games where he’ll go 4-for-5, 6-for-8. It will catch up with him. So it’s not a big deal. And it’ll come out to a percentage where he’s always been, in the high 40s.”
Ball’s best scoring game of the summer league was a 36-point, 11-assist, eight-rebound performance against the Sixers. But more than anything else, Ball turned heads with his passing. Several of his assists came on full court or three-quarter-court passes that led to easy transition dunks or layups.
“We are in a league right now that is kind of dominated by scoring point guards,” Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said before Ball suffered the calf injury. “And there’s some great ones, don’t get me wrong. But to kind of have this young kid come along, 19-years-old, he is really changing the way point guards play with pass-first, getting your teammates going first, it is amazing to watch. We feel like the way he’s playing can really transform our whole team.”