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Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball may have recorded a triple-double in Saturday night’s Las Vegas Summer League matchup against the Boston Celtics, but the only statistic Ball seemed concerned with after the 86-81 loss was the final score.
“Until we win, I’m not gonna be happy,” he said, per Joey Ramirez of NBA.com.
His father agreed with him.
“There’s always going to be progress on each game; he’s going to keep going up,” LaVar Ball told Ben Golliver of SI.com. “You [media] guys will look at it now and say, ‘Wow, he had a triple-double.’ That don’t mean nothing to me. You’ve got to win. It don’t mean nothin’. Wins only matter. Point guards ain’t judged on stats; they’re judged on victory.”
To be fair, Ball was superb in the contest, registering 11 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. That followed a dreadful summer-league debut in which he shot just 2-of-15 from the field and 1-of-11 from beyond the arc.
While his shooting wasn’t great Saturday night—he finished 5-of-13, including 1-of-5 on threes—he showed drastic improvement in his overall game.
“His fingerprints are all over the stat sheet and what we’re doing out there,” Lakers summer-league head coach Jud Buechler told Ramirez, adding: “It was a big comeback game for him. I was really happy for him. You could just tell at times he was more comfortable.”
Ball, however, said he’d focus on areas of potential improvement.
“The biggest challenge is my shot; my shot’s not going in,” he said, per Golliver. “My shot is off. Everybody knows I’m going to keep shooting. My confidence is there. I’ve just got to hit them. … All [my] teammates are great. They keep telling me keep shooting, keep my head up, keep leading.”
Ball’s performance may not have led to a win—and it may just be the summer league—but he displayed the potential that made the Lakers comfortable drafting him No. 2 overall in June. It was clear how his unique style of play made his teammates better Saturday night.
Until that translates into wins, however, Ball—and his father—won’t be pleased.