Lonzo Ball is a point guard, not a prognosticator. As such, he doesn’t want to speculate on how likely it is that the NBA’s plan to resume basketball will be successfully executed all the way through the Finals in October. For now, like many of the league’s 300-plus player participants, he’s content to be back on the practice court with some of his teammates, after an absence of nearly four months.
“I think it’s going to be a day-by-day thing (in the Orlando bubble),” Ball said Monday afternoon of not looking too far ahead. “It’s nothing that’s going to be perfect. This is something that’s never been done before. There are still a lot of question marks… I can’t really tell you if it’s going to work or not; I’m just happy to see my teammates and at least we’re out here as a team, trying to win for the organization.”
That feeling is accentuated by what took place team-wise and individually for the Pelicans and Ball in March, when the third-year veteran was in the midst of his best stretch as a pro. Ball shot 21/36 from three-point range in his final four games prior to the league’s suspension, adding even more firepower to New Orleans’ versatile offense.
“I thought I was playing good basketball, going into the virus stopping everything,” said Ball, who averaged 21.3 points and 7.5 assists in the last four Pelicans games. “Hopefully I can pick up where we left off, not only me, but as a team. I thought we were moving in the right direction, and I think we have a chance to make the eight spot.”
New Orleans (28-36) will enter its July 30 seeding game vs. Utah technically in 10th place in the Western Conference, but after starting 7-23, the Pelicans often looked like a playoff-caliber squad. The planned starting five of Ball, Jrue Holiday, Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson and Derrick Favors did not play together until Game 45 on Jan. 22, but from that point forward, the group dominated. Ball viewed that stretch as a sign of what New Orleans was capable of when it finally had all of its key pieces.
“I think we can play with anybody when we have everyone healthy,” Ball said. “We’re going to Orlando with a full team, so that should be good for us.”