Considering the Lakers first preseason game and dynamic rookie Lonzo Ball’s performance against the Timberwolves, NBA.com writer Dan McCarney saw evidence that Magic Johnson might be dreaming. Last week Johnson, the Lakers GM, said he wanted to Lakers to “get the ball up the court” fast — the way he used to do with the Showtime Lakers. Magic said Ball was the player who could make it happen, a guy who gives you “a pass that you can score.”
But McCarney’s observations tell a different story. Crediting Ball with real versatility, McCarney nevertheless saw a Lakers team whose fast pace was a detriment, not a positive. Magic is getting his way clearly and the Lakers are on the run — it’s just not a way that the Lakers can use to actually win games, according to McCarney, who wrote: “Ball’s most notable contribution was the frenetic, if often sloppy, pace at which the Lakers played. It’s not something they’re even close to being talented enough to win with.” It’s not on Ball, but on the Lakers talent as a whole, the article makes clear. If Magic had been throwing passes to these Lakers instead of James Worthy, Jamaal Wilkes. Michael Cooper and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — McCarney would no doubt see the same fate for the Lakers’ fastbreak.