It seemed odd when veteran guard Goran Dragic chose the Chicago Bulls early in free agency. The Bulls already boasted depth at his position with Lonzo Ball and combo guards Alex Caruso, Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu.
Now it makes more sense after the Bulls on Wednesday announced Ball will "undergo an arthroscopic debridement of his left knee" next week—with another four to six weeks until he's reevaluated. It's a disappointing blow for Ball after his January surgery for a bone bruise and meniscus tear in the same knee.
"I'm sad for him," one NBA executive said. "He's been hurt his entire career."
Ball, who turns 25 next month, has played more than 55 games just once in five seasons, peaking at 63 for the New Orleans Pelicans in 2019-20. That includes his first couple of years in the league with the L.A. Lakers, when Ball spent his offseasons recovering from injuries instead of reworking his famously odd shot mechanics.
It's a shame. When he's healthy, he is one of the unique players in the league, and perhaps the Bulls' best two-way player.
Ball's defensive rating of 107 points allowed per 100 possessions was second on the team among guards behind Caruso's 105.5. Comparatively, DeMar DeRozan was lower at 112, with Zach LaVine 113.4, White 113.6 and Dosunmu 114.1 even worse.
Prolific scorers like LaVine (112.5) and White (112.3) boasted higher offensive ratings, but both Caruso (110.5) and Ball (110.1) were right behind them.