Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball has not lived up to his massive hype. Now, Laker legend Kobe Bryant is joining in on the criticism.
Before his eventual second overall selection in the 2017 NBA Draft, Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball already had an immensely high stock. The, at the time, UCLA point guard was one of the most well-rounded point guards in the NCAA. With a six-foot-six frame, Ball was able to score, rebound and assist the basketball while creating a unique tempo.
It didn’t hurt that Ball had an outlandish father that created an entirely new brand around his sons. Thus, Big Baller Brand was created, Ball was drafted second overall to the Lakers and the hype around the rookie was massive.
According to his father, Lonzo was better than Steph Curry. He would lead the Lakers to the playoffs in his rookie season. Most of all, he was going to have the same impact on the Lakers that Magic Johnson had.
All of this hype led to Ball becoming a natural disappointment, regardless of his performance. However, his performance has not helped his worth in the slightest. Ball has struggled to score the basketball, only shooting at a 32.1% rate. Still, the Rookie is averaging 8.6 points alongside 7.1 assists and 6.8 rebounds.
For a 20-year-old point guard that just graduated high school two seasons ago that is not all that bad. Sure, he is not the savior his father labeled him to be and his funky shot has not transitioned into NBA scoring. However, he was never labeled as a scorer. That is not his specialty.
Naturally, the best scorer the Lakers have ever seen is not happy with the way Ball has performed in his first two months as a pro. Bryant said the following about Ball on Spectrum SportsNet LA:
"He needs to get better now. We never thought, ‘OK, we’re going to win four years from now. We really thought this is our year. We’re going to get this done. We’re going to push, push, push, push, push to get better now.’ And in the process of having that impatience, you develop. If you’re just patiently going about it, you’ll never get there. For players, it’s kind of patient impatience."
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This makes sense coming from the best Laker of all-time and to some is not even criticism at all. Of course, Ball is going to want to get better now and not get better in four, five years. The NBA is a sink or swim league.
However, Bryant seems to just be shouting into a vacuum. He provided the typical “well, duh” statement that seemingly is aimed at Ball’s performance. Yes, Bryant came straight out of high school and succeeded right away.
But this is one of the best players in NBA history we are talking about. Very few can progress as fast as Bryant. Although Ball may not be coming along as fast as Kyle Kuzma, his ceiling is still immensely high.
Is worth right now is still there as well. Sure, he can’t drop 30 points a night like Bryant. He won’t fill up the box score with points. However, he has already changed the offensive culture of this team. Bryant and the rest of Ball’s critics need to give credit where credit is due.
Overall, Ball ultimately had a target on his back since his NBA arrival due to his father. However, this should not stop the critics from realizing that the point guard position should not revolve around scoring the basketball.