Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball filled the stat sheet in his NBA preseason debut Saturday night but was limited to five points in a 108-99 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft was 2-of-9 shooting from the field and 1-of-5 from long range, and had eight assists, seven rebounds, two steals and three turnovers.
Ball's first career preseason points came late in the third quarter when he drilled a three-pointer, much to the delight of the Lakers fans in attendance, per NBA TV:
NBA TV @NBATV
Lonzo for three 👌 His first #NBAPreseason points come from deep. https://t.co/hzNkD1tClH2017-10-1 02:31:45
That marked Ball's only significant highlight from a scoring perspective, but the former UCLA standout did shine as a distributor.
As seen in this highlight package courtesy of the NBA's official Twitter account, Ball found a good rhythm when passing to Brandon Ingram:
Halfway through Lonzo Ball's @Lakers #NBAPreseason debut... https://t.co/YxvqtAPQnO2017-10-1 03:15:57
Ball had an up-and-down night at both ends of the floor, and a sequence in the middle of the third quarter was a microcosm of his performance.
After making a strong defensive move to register a steal, Ball was stripped on the way down the floor by Jeff Teague, resulting in an easy basket for the T'Wolves:
NBA TV @NBATV
Anything you can do, I can do better. .@Teague0 steals it right back from @ZO2_. #NBAPreseason https://t.co/6HAVzcEUsL2017-10-1 03:35:29
Intrigue and buzz follow Ball whenever he plays, but it doesn't always have to do solely with his performance.
One of the biggest Ball-related storylines in summer league was the fact that he wore a different brand of shoes every game.
On Saturday, he sported the redesigned Big Baller Brand ZO2 Prime Remix, as seen in this photo courtesy of B/R Kicks:
B/R Kicks @br_kicks
Lonzo Ball in the @BigBallerBrand ZO2 Prime Remix tonight vs. Minnesota https://t.co/E3So9AeXh42017-10-1 03:37:54
All eyes were even on Ball prior to the game, and Shahan Ahmed of Yahoo Sports divulged how he pumped himself up for the action:
Shahan Ahmed @shahanLA
Part of Lonzo Ball’s pregame hype up in the locker room: listening to himself rapping. Pretty sure it was the Melo Ball commercial song.2017-10-1 01:14:43
Although it was a modest debut for Ball, it was reminiscent of his first contest during the summer league.
Ball struggled shooting in that game as well, but he improved with each passing outing, became a triple-double machine and was named summer league MVP.
Ball has five more preseason games to work out the kinks, and his next opportunity to do so will be Monday when the Lakers host the Denver Nuggets at the Staples Center in L.A.