Falling behind now means staying a mile behind
There is no more room for exceptions or excuses when it comes to Lonzo Ball performing, at the very least, on par with other rookies around the league and even the other stellar one on his team in Kyle Kuzma.
To make sure that the numbers backed up this assertion, I did a head-to-head comparison on NBA.com comparing Lonzo Ball’s statistics to other top rookies including Jayson Tatum, De’Aaron Fox, Dennis Smith, and fellow Lakers star Kyle Kuzma.
Starting with the Tatum comparison, Ball outplays Tatum in every category with the exception of blocks, which is tied (0.8 blocks per game), and points where Tatum has a 13.7 points per game average compared to Ball’s 8.9.
While this might make you think that Ball is obviously the better prospect, consider the fact that Ball has much more on his plate in LA than Tatum does in Boston or any of the other rookies do on their respective teams, including Kuzma.
More from LA Sports Hub
- Lakers: 5 Players to Target Through Trades to make another championship run
- LA Chargers: Week 8 against Denver Broncos is a must-win
- LA Rams: Jared Goff wants to keep the Los Angeles title streak going
- Lakers Rumors: Los Angeles Clippers interested in Rajon Rondo
- LA Chargers: Justin Herbert wins AFC Rookie of the Month
Tatum has room to grow around a talented team and proven coach, while Ball has a second year coach in Luke Walton, an outspoken father, and plenty of critics to go along with it. The reason the Tatum comparison matters is because it gives us a good way to compare Ball to the other rookies when it comes to making shots.
This is not about being some 20 points per game or more phenomenon, but instead looking on paper at the fact that Ball’s glaring weakness and lack of production is rooted in his invisible scoring.
The second comparison is with De’Aaron Fox of Sacramento, who Ball had trouble with in college while they were at Kentucky and UCLA, respectively. Ball again outplays Fox on paper in every category including blocks, while falling three and a half points behind Fox’s 12.3 per game average.
Then, Dennis Smith Jr. of Dallas comes into the picture where it’s the same issue as the Fox comparison, with Smith Jr. scoring 14.2 points per game on average, only exploiting Ball’s weakness even more.
And then finally, Kyle Kuzma serves as perhaps the ultimate kryptonite to Lonzo. This is because if Ball is outplayed and can’t prove himself to be the best player on his own team, what was the point of all of the hype and belief and madness that started while he was college and ended up being contagious with the Lakers.
Kuzma comes as the 27th pick which the Lakers got as part of the D’Angelo Russell exchange with Brookyln and has averaged an incredible 14.8 points per game, blowing Ball out of the water in that category. Kuzma has also proven so far to be a slightly better rebounder, but the point remains that Ball is way behind when compared to even rookies in his draft class when talking about his scoring ability.
He is either going to need to average way more assists or figure out how to correct his shooting woes to get back on track to where he needs to be for his team.