Considering the report after Lonzo Ball’s most recent successful surgery stated that he’s expected to miss “at least a few months,” Shams Charania’s latest words shouldn’t come as a surprise.
The NBA insider clarified that the Bulls are preparing for Ball to sit on the bench until the new year, and I think we can all agree that anything short of that expectations would be counterintuitive.
- Indeed, the Bulls must move forward as if Ball isn’t part of the plans. While that isn’t to say he shouldn’t be in the locker room and sharing words of wisdom with the other young guards, there just can’t be this idea that Ball will eventually return to “save the day.” The fact of the matter is that he will likely have missed a full year of basketball by the time he returns, which could lead to quite a few growing pains. Not to mention, if the Bulls perform as badly as they did last season without Ball, they might already be out of the competitive mix by the time he takes the court. So, even with the recent positive news regarding his health, approaching things without a timeline in mind is best. Not only will it force the Bulls to prioritize finding another suitable answer at point guard, but it will put less pressure on Ball when he returns.
- Head coach Billy Donovan spoke to this point when addressing the media after practice on Thursday. He clarified that it will take some time to know how Ball is responding to the surgery, and he also emphasized that expectations need to be tempered when it comes to the speed at which he can ramp up.
“Let’s say the surgery is a complete success, everything is great, he’s pain free, you also have a player who has been out for nine months,” Donovan said. “It’s not like in three weeks the surgery is a success and you just throw him back out there and play. We haven’t even gotten to the point, if this all goes well, of the rhythm, the timing, the flow, the catching up. He’s had no competitive play since January.
- As great as Ball looked on the floor with this group last season, that was over just 35 games. He still needs time to learn his teammates and master his role. Combine that with playing competitive basketball for the first time in a year, and re-entering the lineup during a second-half playoff push could come with its bumps in the road.
- The Ringer shared an eye-popping stat about Ball’s impact. The Bulls held a disgusting 116.8 defensive rating with Ball off the floor last season, which sat in front of only the Trail Blazers and Rockets. Ew.
- During an appearance on J.J. Redick’s Old Man & The Three podcast, DeMar DeRozan was asked to address the Laker rumors again. The All-Star reiterated that he thought signing with LA last summer was a “done deal,” and it wasn’t until friend Kyle Lowry called him during a trip to Mexico that he learned the Lakers opted for Russell Westbrook.
“In my mind that was the only option for me to go to. I was sold on that, done deal, I didn’t even entertain anything else because I’m letting this situation work itself out. So when I saw the trade happen I knew there was no way for me to go to the Lakers are this point, so now it was a scramble more,” DeRozan said.
- Once again, I want to send my sincerest thank you to the Lakers for fumbling that bag in epic fashion. If they simply stick to their word and welcome DeRozan to LA, they’re likely in the playoffs and potentially competing for a championship again. But, since they decided to give Westbrook a call, the Bulls now have one of the best scoring duos in the league. Life works in weirdly wonderful ways.
- I can’t get enough of these training camp smiles.
- The Dennis Rodman movie about his mid-season trip to Las Vegas is in the works. And, according to Deadline, Jonathan Majors could be in line to play the legend. While I don’t know when the movie will hit theaters, I do know I’ll be first in line whenever it does. Also, the real Dennis better make a cameo!
- The Boston Celtics filled out their bench by signing former All-Star Blake Griffin. I wouldn’t expect the big man to play much for the reigning Eastern Conference champions, but he certainly feels like a good presence to have in the locker room.
- Give me all the Herbert yards.
- Don’t mind if I do!