The Los Angeles Lakers haven’t gotten out to the best start on their four-game road trip, dropping the first two contests to the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards. While the offense has gotten stagnant at times, the team has also shifted away from the defensive efforts that paved their strong start. It is during this time that those around the NBA have begun to question Lonzo Ball’s production thus far.
The criticism has been overblown thus far, as Ball has helped guide his teammates, crash the glass, and impact the game in whatever facet head coach Luke Walton needs him to. The main critique of Ball has been his inability to hit shots, with Walton standing by his player’s side and expecting it to improve over time.
Playing for the Lakers brings a certain burden on his shoulders, as the organization has paved the way for him to be the face of the franchise following the retirement of Kobe Bryant. After their tough loss to the Wizards, All-Star John Wall comprehended the expectations in place for Ball, but also confirmed that the media circus created around him makes for a tough situation, via Michael Lee of Yahoo! Sports:
“It’s tough,” John Wall told Yahoo Sports about Ball. “I mean, his dad does a lot of talking for him. Him saying he didn’t want to play for anybody but the Lakers. Him being a Laker. They want him to be the next franchise guy for them. It’s a lot of burden to fall behind Kobe Bryant.”
Ball, who finished the game with 10 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, and two steals, had an all-around impact even though he didn’t shoot particularly well from the field.
The farewell tour for Bryant was a lengthy one in Los Angeles, as the franchise, fans, and players all took the time to appreciate the impact that the 20-year veteran had during his career with the Lakers. However, the Lakers also had to hit the reset button and move on to the next era of basketball. While the results had been bleak over the past few seasons, the new front office has put together a strong roster and clear-cut vision for how to get this team back on track.
Ball is working on improving his issues and has stated that he is working on finding the proper balance with his jump shot, while also finding proper distribution between scoring and facilitating. While no player will ever be able to replace Bryant, Ball has the foundation to become the next star in Los Angeles.