The UCLA product dealt with durability issues as a rookie and appeared in just 52 games after the Lakers selected him with the No. 2 overall pick of the draft. Any physical setbacks are sure to raise eyebrows after he was in and out of the lineup during his first NBA season.
While the Lakers shifted from a rebuilding club into a contender when LeBron James elected to join the fold this offseason, Ball is still an important part of their future in addition to the present. Look for Los Angeles to exercise the corresponding bigger-view caution in determining when he comes back.
Ball averaged 10.2 points, 7.2 assists, 6.9 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game as a rookie as someone who can do a little bit of everything when he is on the floor. While there are still concerns about his shooting, the point guard sports a bright future because of his facilitating and ability to attack the lane.
While he is expected back for the start of training camp, the Lakers could ask James to assume more of a ball-handling role when the point guard is sidelined. They also have Rajon Rondo as a veteran presence.
Ball is a critical part of the team’s future, but Rondo has championship experience and can help keep the team afloat when needed.