Los Angeles Lakers rookies Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma entered the league with vastly different expectations but it hasn’t stopped them from forming a bond on and off the court. They quickly became friends, jelled in Summer League and carried that success into the regular season.
With the friendship has come endless good-natured taunts and jabs lobbed at one another, both in person and on social media. Ball has relentlessly mocked Kuzma for his wardrobe choices, and Kuzma said he would’ve traded the rookie point guard for a bag of peanuts at this year’s deadline.
On Sunday night, the two shared another connection in that they each have missed a slam dunk. Ball received an outlet pass from Alex Caruso and went up for an emphatic one-handed flush in the fourth quarter, only for it to rim out.
Ball gave chase to the rebound and kept the play alive by throwing the ball behind his back as he went tumbling over the Cleveland Cavaliers’ bench and into the stands.
Naturally, Kuzma viewed Ball’s mishap as worse than any of his near dunks this season. “I’ve missed dunks, but they’re on people,” Kuzma said. “He was wide open. Bad. I let him know that. I let him know about his whole game today. He needs to pick it up.”
Aside from the dunk, Ball didn’t exactly put his best foot forward against LeBron James and the Cavaliers. He was the only starter that failed to score in double-figures, finishing with just five points on 2-for-11 shooting, including 1-of-6 from deep.
However, Ball did have three rebounds, seven assists and one steal. He also rejected the notion that the missed dunk compared to what’s been seen from his fellow rookie. “That’s my first one on the season,” Ball said.
“He’s got like three or four, so I’m going to go with him. He’s a little worse.”