Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball is no stranger to his father, LaVar Ball, courting controversy. The latest media frenzy created by the elder Ball centered on his comments from Lithuania, claiming he felt Lakers head coach Luke Walton had “lost” his son’s team.
Those comments didn’t bother Walton, who reiterated that he felt he had the support of the Lakers front office. Walton added the only thing he worried about was if the comments created problems for the relationship he has Lonzo.
That didn’t seem to be the case at Lakers shootaround, where a nonplussed Ball told Bill Oram of the Southern California News Group and other reporters that he wasn’t concerned with his father’s latest comments on Walton:
“I don’t think so. He’s our head coach. That’s just his opinion. He’s been coaching me my whole life, so he’s definitely going to have a strong opinion about it. That’s just what it is. He’s going to speak his mind. Whatever he believes in is what he’s going to say.”
However, while Lonzo didn’t exactly endorse his father’s comments, he also didn’t exactly refute them, either:
“I’ll play for anybody. … My job is to play basketball. I don’t decide who coaches.”
Walton appears to still very much have the support of the Lakers’ front office and ownership group, but if stuff like this persists without Lonzo making an effort to dispute his father’s contention, it’s at the very least a bad look for the team and at worst a sign that LaVar might be right about Walton.
As the Lakers continue to careen towards the bottom of the standings, Walton’s job will be to make sure he keeps the team together and focused on building good habits together. That’s no easy task, but it’s also the job of the head coach of a rebuilding team.
The way the Lakers defended early in the year suggested that Walton very much had the team’s ear, but if their backslide on that end continues, it’s something general manager Rob Pelinka and president of basketball operations Magic Johnson will have to look at moving forward.
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