At the beginning of this season, Ball often seemed like a man who didn’t fit into the plan.
As a rookie, Ball’s role was clear. He was L.A.’s starting point guard, primarily ball-handler and generator of offense, even if he wasn’t scoring much himself. He was being brought along at a good pace to blossom into a potential star.
In Year 2, with LeBron and Rondo handling the basketball so often and controlling the offense, Ball’s role was often undefined as then-coach Luke Walton didn’t seem to know what to do with his talented young point guard.
Throw in the urgency of the Lakers’ situation changing from a rebuild to a win-now atmosphere and Ball was on the verge of being lost in the shuffle.
As the season went on, however, Ball began developing a nice chemistry with LeBron and was finding his rhythm as a free-flowing playmaker who made a big impact on defense.
So much of the Lakers’ disappointing season can be chalked up to injuries, and Ball was part of that equation. At the time he went out of the lineup in January, L.A. was 25-23 and very much in the fight for a playoff spot. They finished 37-45.
Whether he gets traded or not, whether he is a Laker next season or with another team, Ball’s future depends on his ability to stay on the court. Improving his jump shot to an acceptable level would be a nice bonus.