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Baron Davis: Lonzo Ball is ‘type of player’ LeBron James wants on team

Dunk Wire logo Dunk Wire 6/20/2018 Josh Martin

Basketball: Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James (23) in action vs Los Angeles Lakers Lonzo Ball (2) at Staples Center. Los Angeles, CA 3/11/2018 CREDIT: John W. McDonough (Photo by John W. McDonough /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images) (Set Number: X161789 TK1 ) © John W. McDonough /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images Basketball: Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James (23) in action vs Los Angeles Lakers Lonzo Ball (2) at Staples Center. Los Angeles, CA 3/11/2018 CREDIT: John W. McDonough (Photo by John W. McDonough /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images) (Set Number: X161789 TK1 ) The recent flurry of conversation surrounding LeBron James joining the Los Angeles Lakers has often shifted, for one reason or another, toward the possibility of the Purple and Gold parting ways with Lonzo Ball. As the thinking in some corners goes, why would a 33-year-old three-time NBA champion and four-time MVP want to team with a 20-year-old point guard who struggled with his shot and his body as a rookie and comes with the added baggage of a garrulous father like LaVar Ball?

For Baron Davis, a two-time All-Star who grew up a Lakers fan in L.A., those concerns, both real and imagined, are besides the point. As he suggested during a recent appearance on FS1's "The Herd," the Crown Prince of Chino Hills might actually be a key draw for the league's long-reigning King.

"Lonzo is a good player, and I think Lonzo is the type of player that a player like LeBron would love to play with," Davis said, "because he passes the ball. He has great instincts, he's a really good player, he's efficient, right? And the things that he's not, the things that he's inefficient in, he makes up."

That was true during Zo's debut campaign, when he posted abysmal shooting splits (.360/.305/.451) while stuffing the stat sheet with 10.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, 7.2 assists and 1.7 steals.

"I just trust the kid and I think that he's gonna be a heady point guard," said Davis, who, like Lonzo, starred at UCLA before jumping into the NBA draft as a top-3 pick.

He didn't have to think too hard to envision what a "LeBronZo" partnership might look like.

"With someone like a LeBron James, imagine him getting the outlet, kicking it up to LeBron and LeBron not having to basically make all the plays," Davis continued. "You got a point guard, a young point guard who's athletic, who can make plays, who obviously makes his teammates better."

As for concerns about "distractions" from the Big Baller Brand CEO, Davis noted that "the stakes are higher and everybody has to get a little bit more serious" when the likes of LeBron and San Antonio Spurs superstar Kawhi Leonard get involved.

Baron's thinking here makes a ton of sense. James is coming off the most taxing campaign of his 15-year career. He played in all 82 games, led the league in both total minutes and minutes per game, and still managed to carry a depleted Cleveland Cavaliers club to their fourth straight (and his eighth straight) NBA Finals.

Odds are, LeBron would prefer that his next team possess the kinds of playmakers who can make his job easier by allowing him to allocate his energy more efficiently and judiciously. At 33, James is reaching a point in his basketball life wherein preservation and conservation are both key to his continued dominance and championship contention.

As rough as Lonzo may be around certain edges, his skills as a smart rebounder and preternatural passer won't just take pressure off James, who might otherwise be inclined to do everything on the floor; they also closely resemble the most useful talents of LeBron's last All-Star teammate: Kevin Love.

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