Laker fans can exhale. LeBron James will take the court in the Lakers’ first preseason game on Sunday (Sept. 30) against the Denver Nuggets.
“We’ll get him out there on Sunday,” Lakers coach Luke Walton reported at practice on Thursday, Sept. 27.
Though Walton refrained from committing to the minutes James would play, he did confirm that James will make his Lakers debut.
“He will not play 48 [minutes],” Walton assured. “It’ll be more than one less than 48.”
Walton also disclosed that point guard Lonzo Ball fully participated in team practice on Thursday, including in a “controlled scrimmage.”
“It was good today, got through the whole practice,” Ball said smiling. “Definitely felt a little rusty, threw a couple passes a little too high, but as far as film and weights I feel good.”
The 20-year-old Ball has been recovering from surgery to repair a torn meniscus. He shared he felt no pain as he went through the drills and scrimmage. He revealed that it was the first time in five months that he participated in any sort of contact scrimmage.
“He looked really good,” Walton stated. “It was good to see him out there cutting and making his reads and his passes, contact.”
Ball played opposite James during the scrimmage and recalled growing up watching James. Now that they share the court, he sees him from a different perspective.
“He’s just another person at the end of the day, he not God,” Ball said. “He was hitting shots from all over the court. You already know what LeBron is going to do, he’s a great player.”
James was not the only player who had the attention of his teammates and coaches. Lakers’ rookie shooting guard Svi Mykhailiuk, who was selected 47 in the second round, put on a 3-point performance at Wednesday’s practice that left Ball energized.
“Anywhere on the three point line, he can catch and shoot,” Ball uttered. Reportedly, Mykhailiuk went nearly two minutes without missing a three-point attempt.
James also had high praises for the 6-foot-8 guard out of Kansas. He described his shooting as being able to “shoot the peel off the ball.”
“That’s going to be very good for this ball club no matter if that’s to start the season, or whenever he gets his number called, he’ll be ready,” James added.
It could be as soon as the Lakers’ preseason game in San Diego versus the Denver Nuggets at 6:30 p.m. (PST).