Ball caps Summer League run with MVP award

LAS VEGAS — Lonzo Ball was named Most Valuable Player of the Las Vegas NBA summer league before he sat out Monday’s championship game due to a calf injury.

The Lakers‘ second overall pick took home the honor after averaging 16.3 points, a summer league-leading 9.3 assists, 7.7 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.0 blocks per game.

The Lakers kept their prized rookie on the sideline against Portland after Ball suffered a mild calf strain in his right leg in the third quarter of Sunday’s semifinal win over Dallas. In Ball’s absence, rookie forward Kyle Kuzma finished with 30 points and 10 rebounds and won the final game’s MVP honors in leading the Lakers to the championship.

Ball had already shown summer league voters plenty. Joining Ball on the summer league first team were Atlanta’s John Collins, Phoenix’s Josh Jackson, Dallas’ Dennis Smith Jr. and Portland’s Caleb Swanigan.

New Orleans’ Cheick Diallo, San Antonio’s Bryn Forbes, the Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma, Memphis’ Wayne Selden Jr. and Boston’s Jayson Tatum earned second-team honors.

The Lakers played it safe with Ball on Monday after seeing the rookie shine in the Las Vegas summer league. For precautionary reasons, they shut down last year’s second overall pick, Brandon Ingram, after the swingman suffered a cramp at the end of regulation in the Lakers’ opening game.

There was no point in risking further injury to Ball, who had two triple-doubles and four games with 10 assists or more. No other rookie in Las Vegas summer league history has had more than one game with 10 assists, and no other rookie has ever had a triple-double, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

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