So far this season, much of the focus and headlines for the Los Angeles Lakers has been centered around rookie point guard Lonzo Ball. His father, LaVar Ball, and Lakers president Magic Johnson contributed to expectations reaching astronomical levels, and Ball has failed to reach them.
Another player who definitely had some pressure on him coming into the NBA is New York Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis. Knicks fans were furious with the pick, but over time Porzingis won them over and now is performing like one of the most promising young players in the league.
With the Knicks set to host the Lakers at Madison Saquare Garden, Porzingis spoke about the pressure Ball is under to perform. According to Fred Kerber of the New York Post, Porzingis has sympathy for everything Ball has to deal with and believes he’ll be fine:
“And yeah for [Ball], it’s maybe a little different,” Porzingis said. “He has all this attention, and I don’t know if he wants it that much. But it’s hard to be in his skin. It’s hard to imagine being in his skin. He has great talent, and I think as he gets more comfortable in the league, he will be just fine.”
Ball’s struggles from the floor have been well-documented, as he is shooting just 32.1 percent and 24.6 percent from 3-point range. At times he has seemed to check out mentally when his shot isn’t falling.
That being said, Ball continues to contribute in other ways. He currently leads the Lakers in both rebounding and assists, while also averaging 1.4 steals and one block per game.
Porzingis didn’t have the shooting struggles of Ball, but he definitely understands dealing with immense pressure from an impatient fan base. He overcame it, and he believes Lonzo will ultimately do the same as he, like many others, sees the talent Ball possesses.
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