Three takeaways from Lonzo Ball’s Lakers preseason debut

Lonzo Ball’s much-anticipated preseason debut Wednesday in Las Vegas had a little bit of everything for Lakers fans, including a win: 123-113 over the two-time defending champion Warriors.

Ball’s line: seven points on 3-of-5 shooting with two assists, four rebounds and four steals in 23 minutes. 

“First quarter, I was a little winded,” Ball said (via the Orange County Register). “After that, it was all good.”

The Lakers’ fifth preseason game and Ball’s debut offered the most telling look at what this team might become. It’s early, but it’s intriguing.

Here are three takeaways from Lonzo Ball’s preseason Lakers debut:

1. It won’t always be Lonzo to LeBron.

Ball — who had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee over the offseason and had been rehabbing through the first four games of preseason — brought the crowd to its feet on a dunk off a lob from James, with whom Ball has yet to play alongside, even in practice.

“That’s my first time being on his team,” Ball said (via “But that’s my play. We run that all the time and he put it up there for me.”

James, per, added, “I think we’ve all seen [Ball’s athleticism] since he was in high school, I believe.”

2. It was a small sample size but Ball’s shot did look better.

The Lakers have talked this offseason about how hard Ball has worked on a stroke that last season might’ve been charitably called funky.

Hitting 3 of 5 shots in preseason is no big deal, but he’ll have to improve on last year’s 36 percent from the floor (30 percent from 3-point range). This was a good start.

3. It wasn’t just his left knee that Ball was working on in the offseason.

He looked active on defense, witness the four steals in limited minutes, and he looked … swoll.

All in all — as the Register noted under the headline “LeBron James, Lakers show hope for injecting life into Lakers-Warriors rivalry” — there were a lot of positives on a Wednesday night in Vegas.

This felt like the true beginning of the beginning of a new Lake Show, punctuated by James’ dramatic midcourt buzzer-beater into halftime that capped his double-double in only 18 minutes of play.

“I thought it was going in,” said Ball, who watched James’ dramatic shot from on the floor. “He set his feet, and obviously that’s his range. He shot it like it was a free throw.

“You know,” Ball added with a shrug, “LeBron James.”

Another takeaway: It was Lonzo’s debut, but this is LeBron’s team — and it’s a better team.