Even though he has been playing well recently, there were some serious early-season struggles for Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball. He would often times find himself on the bench down the stretch of games as he would make little to no impact.
This, of course, led to plenty of scrutiny and many wondering if the Lakers had made a mistake in drafting Ball second overall. However many rookies, especially point guards, have issues early on and overcome them.
One who experienced something similar was two-time MVP Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors. In an interview with Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times, Curry recalled dealing with playing time issues and how shocking it was:
“I had a stretch where I literally didn’t play probably 30 seconds. It’s a shell shock. In college when you’re the best player on your team and have been for a while. All these new types of situations — you have to figure out how to deal with it mentally but also stay ready for when your time comes.”
Curry went on about the best way to deal with it and, most importantly, learn from it:
“I wouldn’t say it killed my confidence, more so it checks you. You looked at high school, most guys who get to this level they had a solid college career. You don’t really deal with literally not playing. Sitting fourth quarters or little things like that. … That’s a learning experience to try to stay patient, not let it kill your confidence but not let it kill your spirit, either.”
Before his unfortunate shoulder injury, Ball seemed to be well on his way by doing just that. His confidence improved and he was playing his best basketball of the season.
In his last six games, Ball averaged 16 points, 7.3 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.2 blocks while shooting 44.3 percent from the field and 45 percent from three-point range. When he returns to the lineup, hopefully he can keep up that level of play and continue growing into the player the Lakers believe he can be.
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