Lonzo Ball is set to enter his third season in the NBA with a clean slate, and a real chance to prove that he's capable of living up the high expectations placed upon him when he was drafted out of UCLA.
In regards to his two seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, Ball says, "It wasn’t working over there," and admits that he didn't live up to the hype of a No. 2 overall pick.
Per The Athletic:
“Nah, nah, that wasn’t too much pressure,” Ball told The Athletic. “That’s what I was supposed to do. No. 2 pick, you’re supposed to do a job — you’re supposed to turn the franchise around. And I don’t think I did it to the best of my abilities. I didn’t live up to that standard. Now I’m here and I’m blessed to be here.
“These are two totally different situations. It didn’t go the way we wanted to the first year in L.A., then LeBron (James) came, all the injuries happened and that really messed up the second year. Here, we have Zion (Williamson), Jrue (Holiday), JJ (Redick), D. Fav (Derrick Favors), all the guys that came with me in B.I. (Brandon Ingram) and J. (Josh) Hart, so we have a lot of guys that can play. I’m trying to do my part.”
Additionally, Ball told The Athletic that he wasn't at all surprised when he learned that he had been traded to the New Orleans Pelicans. In fact, he says he was looking forward to the opportunity to get a fresh start and a change of pace in New Orleans.
“It was only a matter of time before a trade happened,” he said. “I pretty much knew a trade would happen. Any time you have a player like Anthony Davis available, I knew it was going to be my time. I was looking forward to it and I was excited for a new start. Getting out of L.A. for the first time in my life. I’m happy about it.
“It was just time for a change. I got hurt both years and didn’t do what I wanted to do. I was blessed to stay home and play in front of everybody, but it wasn’t working over there.”
The Pelicans will kick off the 2019-20 regular season on October 22, as they travel to Toronto to face the defending champion Raptors on opening night.