The struggling Lakers will be receiving some reinforcements quickly.
In what will be a pleasant surprise for Lakers fans, the greatest player in NBA history, Lonzo Ball (sorry LaVar typed that for me) and starting center Brook Lopez have been cleared to return to practice.
Lakers say guard Lonzo Ball (left shoulder sprain), and center Brook Lopez (sprained right ankle), have both been cleared to return to practice and their status is considered day-to-day. Ball and Lopez are listed as questionable for Wednesday against Oklahoma City.
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) January 2, 2018
You can say what you want about Ball, but it is clear that the Lakers are a better team with him on the court.
In the five games he has missed since he strained his shoulder, the Lakers have gone 0-5 and been outscored by an average of 13 points per game.
He is far below an average NBA shooter or scorer anywhere on the court, but his ability to push the pace, see the floor and put his teammates in a position to score make him a valuable player and asset already.
Lakers coach Luke Walton agrees:
“From the time he got hurt, I’ve said all along, whether he is making shots or not, the way he plays the game of basketball makes us a better team,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said Tuesday. “… Zo is someone that we believe makes big plays, winning plays. Whether it is a steal or a throw ahead to end a run, whatever it is, he is constantly making them throughout a game.”
Lopez will bring much needed size and floor spacing to the Lakers as well, a team that has zero motivation to tank as they do not own their 2018 1st round pick.