All eyes were on the Los Angeles Lakers last season because of the intrigue with PG Lonzo Ball. This season, more eyes will be on the Lakers because of the signing of LeBron James. With James in the fold, the Lakers are “must see” TV.
One of the storylines in Los Angeles is how the Lakers will look with Ball and LeBron on the court together. Obviously, this is LeBron’s team, and he will have the ball in his hands a lot, which could have an impact on Lonzo, who seems to be more effective with the ball in his hands. With a lot of attention going to LeBron, Ball will have some open looks, which means his questionable jumper has to get better. Furthermore, Rajon Rondo is in the mix and will probably be the starter for this team when the regular season begins. Therefore, Ball’s minutes could be cut, and with his dad LaVar Ball in the mix, you wonder if that could be an issue.
Ball, 20, is expected to make his preseason debut against the Warriors on Wednesday night after recovering from offseason surgery to repair a torn left meniscus.
Today, on ESPN’s First Take, Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman discussed their expectations for James and Ball in Los Angeles.
Take a listen:
— First Take (@FirstTake) October 10, 2018
After the signing of LeBron James, there’s an energy with the Lakers that we have not seen in a long time. Along the way, there will be many storylines to follow with the Lakers as the 2018-19 season approaches.
One of those many storylines is the point guard battle between the incumbent, Lonzo Ball and the challenger, Rajon Rondo, who was signed by the Lakers this summer. Ball, 20, is expected to be the starter, but according to Lakers GM Rob Pelinka, there would be an open competition for all positions except for whatever position LeBron James plays, so it should be interesting to see how that plays out.
According to Rondo, 32, he will do whatever he asks to do in Los Angeles, which includes helping with the development of Ball.
“Whatever they ask me, my main objective is to win. I’m ready to help develop Lonzo as much as possible,” Rondo told TMZ Sports. “If I’m not starting and he’s starting, he’s going to be ready to go and ready for anybody that comes his way. And we’ll be ready to roll.”
When asked if Ball could be the next Rondo, the four-time All-Star had this to say:
“He’s himself. We’re all individuals. He’s his own person. I’m pretty sure he wants to be better than me as he should at a young age. He has a lot of talent,” Rondo said.
The Rondo, Ball dynamic could get very interesting, especially if Rondo is outplaying Ball. Magic Johnson has been on record as saying he was hoping to find a mentor for Ball, and if everything goes as planned, Rondo could be that guy. Rondo and Ball have a similar skill set, so maybe Rondo can help Ball get to the next level.
Lonzo Ball had a solid rookie season for the Lakers. While he won’t win Rookie of the Year, like his father predicted, he did put up some decent numbers. Ball, 20, averaged 10.2 PPG, 7.2 APG, 6.9 RPG, and 1.7 steals per game. He led the Lakers in assists and steals per game last season. However, Ball does need to work on his shot over the summer. He shot 36% from the field last season, which needs to improve.
As Magic Johnson said, this is the “biggest summer” of Lonzo’s career.
Some have mentioned Ball’s name in a trade for Kawhi Leonard, but the Spurs are reportedly not interested in Ball.
According to LaVar Ball, if the Lakers did trade Lonzo, it would be a big mistake:
“If they wanna trade him, trade him. It’ll be the worst move they ever made, how’s that,” Ball told TMZ Sports. “If they want to trade him, if they don’t want to trade him, keep him. He’s going to do his thing. I’m not worried about no trade. My boys, all three of them are going to play on the same team at one time… Somebody going to take all three of my boys, and whoever do, guess what? Championships; all day.”
LaVar has a plan, but it’s probably not going to come to fruition. Ball’s son LiAngelo went undrafted, but he still can catch on as an undrafted free agent.
Regarding Lonzo, if the Lakers have a chance to get Kawhi Leonard, and the Spurs have interest in Lonzo, then Los Angeles has no choice but to trade him.
LaVar Ball can’t stay out of his own. On Monday, LaVar told Lithuanian journalist Dontas Urbonas the following:
“If they don’t take Gelo(LiAngelo Ball) this year, I bring back Gelo here [to Lithuania], to play with Melo(LaMelo Ball) for two years. Lonzo will be on his third year, and I [will] let every NBA team know that Lonzo is not going to re-sign with the Lakers, but will go to any team that will take all of my three boys. That’s my plan,” Ball said.
It sounds like a lousy plan hatched up by LaVar Ball. It’s tough to dictate where guys are going to play in the NBA, especially if guys are not good enough to play in the NBA.
This all could be a moot point because LaMelo and LiAngelo may not be good enough to play in the league.
FOX Sports’ Chris Broussard feels like it’s time for Lonzo to silence his dad. Here is what he said on UNDISPUTED today:
"LaVar is not teaching Lonzo how to be his own man… Lonzo needs to step up because the players are looking at you. Men are not going to follow you if they see you as a daddy's boy." — @Chris_Broussard pic.twitter.com/E10llStYjp
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) February 13, 2018
We all know LaVar Ball likes to talk, but sometimes he talks too much! Here is what LaVar Ball told Bleacher Report about Luke Walton and Lonzo Ball this week:
“They’re soft. They don’t know how to coach my son. I know how to coach him,” LaVar Ball told Bleacher Report. “I tell him to go get the victory. Stop messing around.”
Former Lakers coach Byron Scott gave his thoughts on Walton and LaVar Ball:
“I’m not Luke Walton. As a coach, if I was in that position, the first thing I would tell you guys, the L.A. Times, and everybody else and Mr. Ball as well, I got so much more experience doing this than you’ll ever have, especially in the NBA,” Scott told TMZ Sports. “So, basically I would probably say ‘Shut Up’ and stay put, stay on the sidelines. We got this. Now, it seem like, obviously trying to jockey for a coaching job. We just don’t know where that’s going either, so, if I’m Luke, to me it’s laughable if I’m Luke Walton. I’m sitting there kind of basically just laughing about it.”
You knew at some point, and at some time, that LaVar was going to start chirping. However, he has to let Luke Walton do his job!
So, LaVar listen to Scott and “Shut Up!”
Los Angeles Lakers rookie guard Lonzo Ball came into the NBA with so much fanfare. While Ball has had some solid moments this season, he continues to struggle with his shot.
Coming into Friday’s action, Ball is shooting 30% from the field, including 23% from downtown.
Former NBA star and current ESPN analyst Chauncey Billups believes Ball should reach out to a former NBA player to help his shooting:
“If I was Lonzo, I would call Kevin Martin. He was a guy in our league who had like this funky shot, but he could shoot the hell out of it, and he could get it off as well,” Billups told TMZ Sports. “I would call a guy like him who could maybe speak to having to try to figure out getting that shot off.”
“He was nice. He averaged like 20 a game, but he had a funky shot. So, if I was Zo, I would reach out to guys like that to maybe help him,” Billups said.
Billups thinks if Martin does not reach out to Martin, Ball should think about changing his shot:
“In my opinion, I think he needs to reach out to Kevin because otherwise you gotta change your entire shot. He been shooting a certain way for 15 years. That’s tough to do,” Billups explained.
Kevin Martin might be the perfect guy. Martin, who played 14 years in the NBA, averaged over 20 ppg seven times in his career, so Billups might be on to something when he tells Ball to reach out to Martin.
Will Ball change his shot? Will he reach out to Kevin Martin? I think if he continues to struggle he probably should give both of those things some thought.
There is a lot of hype surrounding Lakers G Lonzo Ball. It seems like Ball was talked about everyday leading up to the 2017 NBA Draft.
Lakers owner Jeanie Buss has not seen this type of hype since Magic Johnson.
“I can’t remember anybody with more hype going into the draft except for Magic Johnson,” Buss said last night at the espnW Women + Sports Summit. “Now we have a kid, born and raised in Los Angeles, and that’s exciting for our fans, and for us, to know that we have someone that really represents the city. It seemed like I was watching a movie. It was really special and a great opportunity for him and us.”
The next question is will Ball live up to the hype? That answer will come in the next few years.
Lakers G Lonzo Ball has gained another fan. Hall of Famer and former Lakers great James Worthy is a big fan of Ball.
The 19-year-old rookie was named Summer League MVP.
Here is what “Big Game James” told TMZ Sports:
“I really like him as a player. He’s extremely unselfish, he’s a team player; he enhances everybody on the court. We haven’t had someone with that type of talent really since Magic came,” Worthy said.
Is Worthy saying Ball is more talented than Kobe Bryant? If so, he’s wrong, but the kid does have talent.
Time will tell if Lonzo Ball can live up to the hype! If he is anything close to Magic, the Lakers have done well.