The Los Angeles Lakers did an excellent job of bringing in talent via the 2017 NBA Draft. The two players who stood out most were second overall pick Lonzo Ball, and 27th overall selection Kyle Kuzma.
The two had completely different paths to the Lakers. While Kuzma was a late-riser in the draft process, Ball was the most high-profile prospect for most of the previous year thanks to the constant expectations heaped on him by his father, LaVar Ball.
LaVar continued to make headlines during Lonzo’s rookie year which only served to put even more pressure on the rookie, but it never showed if you ask Kuzma.
During a recent appearance on “Undisputed on FS1,” Kuzma praised his fellow rookie for his ability to handle the constant pressure he’s under:
“That hype, it will forever be there for the rest of his career. But for him, he does a great job of really masking it. You never really see it on his face. That’s a great quality he has.”
Very few rookies have ever been under the scrutinty that Lonzo faced in his first season. A local product from Chino Hills, it was no secret that his dream was to be a Laker.
LaVar never let anyone forget that, speaking it into existence as he put it, and it just continued during the year.
In addition to LaVar’s words, Lakers president of basketball Operations Magic Johnson proclaimed Lonzo the face of the franchise at his first press conference while also telling him not to break all of his Laker records.
Even through all of that, no one could ever tell that any of it was bothering Ball when talking to him. He kept the same demeanor throughout the year while continually noting that his father had been that way his entire life so he was used to it.
Lonzo has plenty of room to grow and this summer will be crucial to him beginning to reach his potential, but as Kuzma said, his ability to remain calm under pressure is truly something to be applauded.
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