Lakers’ Ball compares favorably to Payton, insider says

Lakers guard Lonzo Ball is averaging 9.9 points, 5.4 assists and 5.3 rebounds in 47 games this season.

The Los Angeles Lakers have been hit hard by injuries this season and even with LeBron James and Rajon Rondo back in the lineup, they are still struggling to find their way.

That can be directly traced to the Lakers playing without the services of point guard Lonzo Ball, according to Chris Broussard of FS1.

Appearing on the Undisputed show Tuesday, Broussard said Ball, the second-year guard out of UCLA, compares favorably to former Seattle SuperSonics great Gary Payton at the same point in their respective careers.

Ball is recovering well from a grade-3 ankle sprain, a league source told Amico Hoops on Tuesday.

His injury occurred during a game against the Houston Rockets on Jan. 19, when he had to be carried off by teammates Lance Stephenson, and recently traded Michael Beasley.

According to the Lakers, Ball’s timetable to return at the time was four-to-six weeks, That would make Ball’s return fall anywhere between Feb. 16 and March 2.

The Lakers are in need of Ball’s playmaking on both sides of the ball. They were 28-28 entering Tuesday’s game at Atlanta, and currently hold the 10th seed in the Western Conference. The Lakers are 3-6 since Ball suffered the injury.

Ball, 21, is averaging 9.9 points, 5.4 assists and 5.3 rebounds in 47 games on the season.

— Ben Stinar contributed to this report

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