Who is Lonzo Ball?
This question has racked my brain since Lavar Ball stepped onto my television screen, boldly proclaiming that his son, Lonzo is better than Stephen Curry. Watching him play is like watching a clock pendulum swing wildly back and forth. Apathetic Ball has had some terrific games this season, but he has also had some awful games. I think that most people root for him to fail; because by not responding to his father’s crazy hot takes the way the general public wants, he’s obviously complicit with them, right? But Ball seems to be impervious to the criticism.
Folks have tried to compare him to NBA legend Jason Kidd, and I think that we can all see now that Ball is not Kidd.
Is he a bust?
Definitely not. The only reason this rookie garners so much attention is because of his father, the CEO and patriarch of the Big Baller Brand.
Was he overhyped?
Maybe. The greatest point guard of all time, Magic Johnson jumped on the hype train last summer, prognosticating that Ball would have a Los Angeles Laker jersey retired one day. The way that Ball has performed this season, that seems far from the truth.
So it begs the question again: Who is Lonzo Ball?
Perception is reality. Folks raise their expectations based on how much buzz a player is generating. So, allow me to give you a refreshing perspective that might eradicate whatever negative stereotype you have about Ball.
Pretty crazy how close those numbers are in comparison right? For the sake of argument, we will refer to the player on the left as “Player A” and the one on the right as “Player B”. The statistics rival each other in five categories in order: points, assists, rebounds, blocks and steals, all per game this current 2017-2018 NBA season.
Hmmm. At this point, you may be wondering who the two players are, right? Well before I reveal that, let me also embellish my argument by adding that both players lead their respective team in touches and possession during a game. You also might be interested in knowing that per ESPN, Player A is top 10 in his position for Defensive Real Plus Minus (DPRM), and Player B is ranked second amongst all of his position in DPRM.
Have you guessed it yet?
Yep. Three Time All-Star and Two Time Champion Draymond Green.
So you can heap all the love on Green, but Ball can’t get any love?
Ball is doing this as a rookie. He may not be a dynamic scorer, who can explode to the rim with ease. He may never be the offensive juggernaut that Curry is. But the guy can really play, and you need to give credit where credit is due.
There won’t be any Rookie of the Year awards being passed his way. That particular argument can be made however for his teammate Kyle Kuzma, which illustrates an even greater point that I need to make. Green is a terrific player, maybe even a Hall of Famer. But Green is a champion because of the great assets around him. He flourishes in the Golden State system because of the all-time great shooting skills of Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Curry. The Warriors currently rank number one in the league for three-point shooting percentage, while the Lakers rank second to last at 29th.
I believe that this nascent Lakers team, currently has the correct point guard at the helm. Picture a basketball team as a pizza, preferably Blaze pizza which is the bomb.
All those cheeses, and spicy red sauce….
OK, enough day dreaming!
The Warriors have a fully loaded pizza, with all of the toppings. Green is the sauce- the secret ingredient that makes the pizza… well pizza.
The Lakers have the secret sauce in Ball, but in order for the sauce to truly manifest itself and showcase how delicious it is, additional toppings will need to be added.
Sure, there’s some light Kuzma cheese currently sprinkled on it, perhaps some Julius Randle oregano, and some Brandon Ingram black olives. But the meat hasn’t arrived yet. The big free agents that the Lakers are targeting haven’t got to Los Angeles yet, and until then, even the harshest food critic cannot judge this pizza.
And you shouldn’t judge Lonzo.
So give the kid a shot.
Like any good pizza, I promise you he will be worth the wait.
Hey guys! Mark here. Follow me on twitter @mark_a_gilbert for more columns, videos and just talk about sports and life.