Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball is used to dealing with pressure. Whether it was in his backyard as a child when his dad LaVar was training him, at Chino Hills High School trying to win a state championship, or at UCLA, where he tried to get the Bruins to their first Final Four since 2008.
As one of the best players at every level he’s played, the pressure has always fallen on Ball when his team loses, and the same thing rings true now with the Lakers despite him being the youngest player on the team.
Lakers head coach Luke Walton recognizes the amount of pressure that Ball is placed with, and he was very complimentary about how well the rookie deals with it, via David Aldridge of NBA.com:
“A lot of the credit goes to him, honestly,” Walton said. “I don’t know if his upbringing has prepared him for it, the insanity that comes with everyone always watching and judging everything that comes with being a star. But he just has this ability where it seems that it doesn’t really get to him. He’s calm. He doesn’t seem like stress and pressure really affect him that much.
“He’s been a great teammate; the guys on the team love. It’s impressive at 19 — well, he’s 20 now — that he’s able to handle the limelight like he is. I mean, he’s on SportsCenter every single night. No matter what’s happening, he’s on there. Obviously a lot of people have a lot of different opinions, but he was raised properly. He handles himself, he handles situations, he handles his teammates with dignity and class.”
Ball has struggled with his shot so far in his rookie season, but he is still finding other ways to impact the game on both ends of the floor.
LaVar believes he has a solution for his son’s shooting struggles, and that’s playing more minutes. Ball is already leading the team in minutes though, so he just needs to continue finding open looks for his teammates and being aggressive and his shots should start falling.
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