LaVar Ball is the main attraction before Lonzo's first Lakers game

Remigio Civitarese
Ottobre 1, 2017

There was Jeanie Buss, making a rare preseason appearance, and a rare appearance at a game away from Staples Center at all. "I mean, it's just, any kind of way".

The Lakers made their long-awaited season debut in a 108-99 exhibition loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, a game that gave fans - as well as Lakers executives and owners - their first look at rookie point guard Lonzo Ball, the hero of Chino Hills, as he stepped into the spotlight of Lakers stardom. He is dynamic pushing the ball ahead and when he is on the court bigs run the floor hard looking to get rewarded - it changes the culture of the team.

At one point he whipped a brilliant cross-court pass through traffic to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who immediately passed to Brandon Ingram for what would have been a wide-open corner 3 had he not fumbled the ball out of bounds.

But unlike his disastrous Summer League debut in July, Ball's first preseason outing was merely a mixed bag.

At various others, however, Ball forced lobs, or dribbled behind his back in traffic, or forced up bad shots, or didn't take open ones.

The second overall pick in June's draft and the Most Valuable Player of the Las Vegas Summer League, Ball was the last starter introduced pregame and took the floor to a swell of cheers.

"He's right..." Ball said. "That was a great moment, but now at the end of the day, now I have a job to do now I've got to come in here and keep doing it". Walton, who has stressed the Lakers need to play a fast pace to be successful, said his players "need to get in much better shape to play the way we want to play". It's my first time playing against somebody else with this group.

Los Angeles Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr., center, and Minnesota's Taj Gibson, right, reach for a loose ball in Anaheim on Saturday, September 30, 2017.

"With him, probably the thing, he's going to play the game the way, in my opinion, it's supposed to be played", Walton said before the game.

The youngster also needs to work on recognizing when to push it, and when to just get into the offense. "We want him taking those (shots)". Lonzo looked like a rookie on defense, struggling over picks, not being able to handle Jeff Teague in space, and occasionally getting pushed around physically - Minnesota posted Jimmy Butler on him a couple of times, and Ball is not strong enough to stop him. But the intent is clear - give the ball to Ball, and let him go. But you can see his potential, and with him the potential of the Lakers.

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