Bulls’ Lonzo Ball takes just-another-game approach against former team
Ball still wasn’t sure what exactly went wrong in New Orleans, but he also didn’t seem to care. He says he’s in the right place now and with the right team.
Point guard Lonzo Ball still isn’t sure about exactly what went wrong during his stay with the Pelicans.
And, frankly, he doesn’t really care.
So any talk about a revenge game Friday or playing with an extra chip on his shoulder was all but dismissed.
He has been consistent with that stance throughout camp.
“I think it’s just part of the journey,’’ Ball said when asked about playing for his third team since being selected No. 2 overall in the 2017 draft. “Everybody has a different path. For me, it’s been up and down the last four years, but I’m blessed.
‘‘Everything I go through is for a reason, I believe. I’m happy with the life I have.’’
That’s why he had a very businesslike approach against the Pelicans in the Bulls’ second preseason game.
He didn’t force shots, didn’t overpass. Ball said earlier that he didn’t “feel any type of way’’ in going against his former team and played like it.
“I’m in a good situation right now,’’ Ball said. “I got no complaints.’’
Neither do his teammates, who love having Ball conducting the offense. He puts them in the best position to score and gives the backcourt a defensive presence it hasn’t had in quite some time.
“He’s such a high-IQ guy,’’ guard Zach LaVine said. “It’s a treat to play with him.’’
Ball also has a laid-back demeanor off the court.
So when the Bulls play the Lakers — his first team — or the Pelicans again, don’t expect bulletin-board material from him. It’s just not in his makeup.
“I always have rumors circling around me all year,’’ Ball said. “So, I mean, it’s been the same for me the last four years. I’m just happy to be here.’’
Praise for the King
Backup guard Alex Caruso has been asked a lot about playing in Los Angeles, specifically about LeBron James.
He made it clear it was an experience that couldn’t be undersold.
“[James] just makes the game so much easier for everybody,’’ Caruso said. “Me and him, we just have a special connection of how we see the game. We do a good job of manipulating the defense and understanding how people are playing the game.
“I owe a lot to him for where I am today. Obviously, I put a lot of work in, but he makes me look good. He makes the team look good. When you win, everybody gets paid, everybody gets to do a job. Being part of his legacy and being a part of that team for the last couple of years was fun for me.’’
Caruso wasn’t as forthcoming about where his championship ring is kept.
“It is in my possession,’’ Caruso said. “I will not disclose where that is just because I know people read y’all’s columns. And it’s a very prized possession. But it is in the possession of the Caruso family.’’
Second-year forward Patrick Williams (left ankle) hasn’t shown enough with his lateral movement to change his timetable, but this upcoming week will be pivotal.
If he can start practicing by next weekend, there’s a good chance he’ll be ready for the start of the regular season in Detroit.