Lonzo Ball’s first 21 games in a Lakers jersey have come with some serious peaks and valleys.
He has put up two triple-doubles and he is the youngest player to do so. But, he is shooting a disappointing 31 percent from the field and 25 percent from three-point range.
Critics can’t help but wonder, “Is Lonzo Ball a bust?” With only 21 professional games in the books for Ball, it still appears to be too soon to make a judgement.
All the stars were in line for both the Lakers and Ball in securing the second overall pick in the 2017 National Basketball Association Draft. Coming off a stellar year at the University of California Los Angeles, where he shot 55 percent from the field, 41 percent from behind the arc and averaged 14.6 points and 7.6 assists per game, Ball seemed to be the spark the rebuilding Lakers needed after finishing the 2016-2017 season second from the bottom in the west at 26-56.
With the full support of Laker great and President of Basketball Operations Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Head Coach Luke Walton, Ball was drafted second overall in the 2017 NBA Draft, securing a likely starting position on his dream team.
“It’s crazy,” Ball told ESPN after being drafted. “I couldn’t ask for anything more. Just to be able to learn from him [Johnson] every day should be amazing.”
While most NBA rookies come into the league being able to focus on adjusting to playing on such a large stage, Ball’s journey has been accompanied by his outspoken father, LaVar Ball.
LaVar’s comments have raised eyebrows over the past year, including making claims that he could beat Michael Jordan at one-on-one and that his son [Lonzo] will, “only play for the Lakers.”
Most recently, LaVar claimed that his son is better than Steph Curry, a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player award winner and lights-out three-point shooter.
Although Ball showed out well in the Laker’s most recent game versus the defending champion Golden State Warriors with 15 points and 10 assists, it is still reasonable to avoid Curry comparisons just yet.
Along with high expectations coming out of successful one-and-done play at UCLA, expectations for otherworldly play from Lonzo have been raised by LaVar.
Lonzo’s less-than-stellar start is due to, according to LaVar, the Lakers’ coaching staff.
“They’re soft. They don’t know how to coach my son. I know how to coach him,” Lavar said.
This criticism of the Lakers is a new development in the relationship that Lavar previously had with the organization. His outspoken opinions on the team have spanned from only wanting his son to play for the Lakers to now this harsh criticism of the entire organization.
Coaching may be a problem for the Lakers, head coach Luke Walton heading a team record of 26-56 last season, but it is quite early in the new season to make a call.
Although Lonzo’s NBA start has been inconsistent and, to many, underwhelming, he continues to keep his head down and grind.
“I don’t really care [about the criticism]. I’ve got to just keep shooting and improve every game,” Ball said recently. “It’s amplified because it’s the NBA.”