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Lonzo Ball points and assists per game average during 2017-18 NBA regular season

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NBA Betting Futures Odds

The Los Angeles Lakers saw something they really liked in Lonzo Ball. To make room for Lonzo and LaVar, the Lakers traded away their No.1 pick in the 2015 draft, sending D’Angelo Russell to NBA purgatory in Brooklyn. Unfortunately Russell wasn’t given a fair shake in L.A. He had to work behind the Kobe Bryant fiasco his rookie year, hung out with the wrong teammate in Nick Young and never fit the Lakers mold. Ball is a Laker. He’s from SoCal, played at UCLA and enters a situation that is built for him.

Lonzo Ball assists per game average during 2017-18 NBA regular season

Over 5

Under 5

Lonzo Ball points per game average during 2017-18 NBA regular season

Over 10.5

Under 10.5

The Lakers are starting over, again. The ownership situation appears to be clear and Magic Johnson is putting his fingerprints all over the franchise. He wanted a point guard in hopes of recreating the Showtime moments from when he was running the floor. And he found his guy in Ball. Another plus for the Lakers is that Lonzo is a local product and that only adds to the excitement for this season.

That’s all good for ticket sales, but what about victories? Something the Lakers haven’t been able to get many of the past few seasons. Ball is probably the most skilled player in his draft class. He makes his teammates better, as he did with the Bruins last season, and is a pass-first point guard. He averaged 8.7 dimes per 40 minutes last year and the Bruins made it to the Sweet 16.

Does that translate into success at the next level? No, it doesn’t. And Ball is just 19 years old. But he handled the pressure of a big time college program and he’s had to deal with a meddlesome father his entire life. So, one could say getting on the court and showing HIS skill is what sets Ball apart from other players.

Key Factor

No pressure Lonzo, just go out and transform the once proud franchise from the depths it’s reached over the past few years and turn it into a winner once again. Ball had no problems making the transition to the college game and had spectacular numbers in his one-and-done year. Ball averaged 14.6 points and 7.6 assists per game while playing over 35 minutes.

He’ll get a chance right away to make an impact in the NBA as the Lakers have turned the offense over to him by trading Russell. The issue now is his supporting cast. Ball had an outstanding group at UCLA with fellow first-round pick T.J. Leaf, who led the Bruins in scoring with 16.3 points per game last season and was the beneficiary of many pinpoint Ball passes.

Fellow freshman Ike Anigbogu was taken in the second round of the draft and Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton played their senior season. It was a group that got UCLA into the Sweet 16. With Ball at the controls, the Bruins had an efficient offense, leading the nation in field goal percentage and second in scoring.

The Lakers were bad last season, and the season before, and the season before that. It’s not like Ball is coming into a situation like Magic did when he was the first overall pick in 1979, so it’s hard to compare. The current Lakers roster is thin and Ball will have to create as well as score, which will put the over in both prop categories within reach.

NBA Free Picks

According to many of the experts, Ball is the most NBA-ready player to come out of the 2017 draft. He’s also entering a situation where he will be tasked with running the floor. The organization appears much more stable now than it did a few years back when Russell was the No. 2 overall pick and the point guard of the future.

The Byron Scott era is over, Kobe is a distant memory and Ball has the keys. My concern with Lonzo is that he had a great team at UCLA last season and he may have been overrated. But on the other hand we could say Ball made the team great. Either way, Ball is going to get his chance to put up numbers and make the Lakers relevant again.

We could also look at Russell’s numbers from last season as a guideline. He averaged 15.6 points and 4.8 assists for a team that won 26 games. The Lakers should be better this season with the development of Brandon Ingram and whatever pieces they add before the season starts. Ball is a gifted athlete who never looks like he’s competing very hard. But believe me, he’s a fierce competitor and he should reach the over in both categories.

NBA Prediction: Lonzo Ball OVER 5.0 assists per game average
NBA Prediction: Lonzo Ball OVER 10.5 points per game average

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