Lonzo Ball Probable to Return By All-Star Break |SLAM

Lonzo Ball Probable to Return By All-Star Break |SLAM

Lonzo Ball could reportedly return by the All-Star break, according to team insider Sam Smith.

In January of last season, the team reached the mountain top of the Eastern Conference, receiving MVP-caliber play from DeMar DeRozan while Ball showcased his two-way ability as a perimeter defender and facilitator, making the right reads to put his teammates in prime scoring position.

The former second-overall pick was on a mission to lead the Bulls franchise back to title contention, averaging the second-highest point average of his career (13.0), the highest steal rate (1.8), and the best three-point shooting accuracy (42.3) of his career.

The fundamentals were on full display, and the team looked on track to make as deep of a playoff run as they did in 2011. However, Ball suffered a meniscus tear in his left knee that forced him out for the rest of the season, and it hit the brakes on the momentum they had built up early on, exiting the 2022 playoffs in the first round against the Milwaukee Bucks.

With Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic, and DeRozan on the floor, the team has started the new season 8-11, good for 12th place in the East. The slow start isn’t what was expected from the Bulls but team insider Sam Smith shared an update about a possible return for Ball, who may now be considered the solution to all the team’s woes.

“The general word around the Bulls is he might be able to play in January, maybe by the All-Star break,” Smith said. “That would be wonderful, though personally, without any information or “insider” scoops from sources which may or may not know, I’m not counting on him this season.”

Head coach Billy Donovan knows there are missing pieces to the puzzle, but some of his talents have taken on the challenge to improve at their position.

The Bulls could use the floor general presence of Ball to alleviate the ball-handling duties of one-on-one scorers like LaVine and DeRozan while front-court players like Patrick Williams. and Vucevic can catch quick interior passes from Ball. A starting 5 with an unselfish point guard is the general recipe for success, and the Bulls desperately need it.

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