Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball has shown both the good and bad aspects of his game early on in his NBA career.
On one hand, Ball has shown to already be a transcendent passer and pace-pusher, while also playing better-than-expected defense and rebounding well for his position. Ball has also managed to avoid turning the ball over very much, which is usually a problem for first-year guards.
On the other hand, Ball has shot the rock at a historically awful rate, and the latter issue has gotten a lot more attention from the media and many fans than the aforementioned strengths. But the Lakers organization hasn’t seemed to lose sight of what it has in Ball.
Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson said on the latest episode of “Connected With…” that he’s seen enough to know the organization team has a special player on its hands in Ball, as seen on Spectrum SportsNet:
“Typical rookie season, but he’s special. He knows how to play the game, his basketball IQ is off the charts. We’ve seen a couple games where he’s had triple-doubles. We have to remember something. The kid was 19 when he signed, 20 now. No guy was who they were in the beginning, three years, four years later, five years later. His numbers are the same as Jason Kidd, numbers are the same as Steph Curry. … We’re going to be patient with this young man, we’re not going to push him, we’re not going to change his shot. I love his attitude, the players love him, he’s a hard worker. We know what we have in Lonzo, and I think it’s only going to get better for him this season as well as years to come.”
Johnson also revealed he plans plans to sit down with Ball soon to look at tape and just talk with the young guard. It’s believed to be the first instance in which the Hall-of-Famer will have such a meeting with his understudy.
For as much criticism as Ball has received, Johnson unequivocally is correct. Ball is literally only going to get better if he follows anywhere close to the path of traditional first-round picks and other young players.
Anyone who feels otherwise needs only to look at Brandon Ingram’s struggles last season compared to his superlative play this year to see that even the most promising No.2 overall picks take time to develop, and Ball is no different.
Plus, Ball has already shown far more during his rookie season than Ingram did, and if he follows the latter’s trajectory of adjusting to the NBA, he’ll be even more special next season.
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