LaVar Ball lives by the credo of “speak it into existence.”
That could be very good news for the Bulls.
Appearing in an interview with ESPN 1000’s David Kaplan, the boisterous father of point guard Lonzo Ball was very confident that his son would be ready for the start of the 2022-23 regular season. There was growing concern that might not be the case, especially with Ball having several setbacks in his comeback attempt from left knee surgery throughout the second half of this past season.
LaVar, however, did his best to ease some minds.
“You know what, he should be ready for the season this year,” LaVar Ball said. “Because he’s going to stay out here [in Los Angeles} and get it done the right way. Sometimes you have to get your own guy to say, ‘OK, this is how we gotta do this.'”
LaVar went on to say that he told Lonzo, “If all else fails, go back to the basics, which is come back to me and let me get you right because you were never hurt when you were with me.”
The elder Ball thought the Bulls took the wrong approach in trying to get Lonzo back up and running after he underwent the surgery, as well as was working back from a bone bruise. LaVar felt that the team’s training staff should have done most of the rehab in the pool, as well as strengthening the other muscles around the knee, rather than the usual treadmill, out-of-water, rehab.
He also pointed out that the Lakers took a similar approach to Ball’s knee rehab back in 2019, “where they got you on these rubber bands and you’re not doing any strength training or anything like that for your legs, you’re gonna get hurt.”
Kaplan asked Ball if Lonzo would need another surgery this summer, and he responded, “He won’t need another surgery. He’s just going to be out here in L.A. and they’re going to train him a different way, which is something he’s used to.”
But it wouldn’t be a LaVar Ball interview if he didn’t go all LaVar.
According to pops, he’s also got a secret ingredient that will make sure that Lonzo would be good to go by fall camp.
“And I told him he’d better go back to ‘Big Baller’ style and stop trying to drink that god-dang almond milk, and drink you some Vitamin D whole milk,” Ball insisted. “People see me, I don’t got no bone spurs and all that stuff. You drink that weak stuff, you’re going to get some of that.”
In his first season with the Bulls, Ball played just 35 games before the knee betrayed him. But what an impactful 35 games it was. He not only emerged as the best two-way player in the starting unit, but pushed the tempo with the ball in his hands and was huge as the kick-out outside shooter when defenses collapsed on Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan.
Ball led that starting unit with 42.3% shooting from three-point range, and did so by averaging 7.4 attempts per game.
When Ball went down in mid-January, the Bulls were 27-13 and sitting atop the Eastern Conference as one of the surprise teams of the first half. The point guard duties fell onto several other players, but Ayo Dosunmu earned most of the playing time there with the starting unit.
Dosunmu, who finished Second-Team All-Rookie, had some very capable moments, but obviously couldn’t bring what Ball did to the position.
Lonzo Ball did speak to the media recently, and while he was disappointed by the injury, he was focusing big picture.
“We had a lot of promise I felt like,” Lonzo Ball said. “And we had a lot of goals that I don’t think were met, mainly due to a lot of health issues. You can’t change the past. I think everything happens for a reason. For me, it’s now about moving forward and getting ready for next year.”