Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball has faced a bevy of criticism this season, for not just his shooting woes on the court, but the hype and attention drawn to him by his father, LaVar.
LaVar recently expressed his frustrations with Lakers head coach Luke Walton for his son’s struggles, which led to president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka asking him to tone down on the criticism.
Kobe Bryant offered his take on the pressure Ball has received because of his father, and believes that it shouldn’t have any bearing on the rookie who should solely focus on improving his game, per Bill Oram of the Southern California News Group:
“That stuff is completely inconsequential,” he said. “The only time that matters is when he has to think of an answer. What matters is what he does in the gym before practice, during practice and after practice. That’s the only thing that matters.”
Bryant has previously pointed out that expectations for himself were tempered during his rookie season, given the presence of veteran guards Eddie Jones and Nick Van Excel already on the roster.
Also in Bryant’s favor was a Lakers team ready to contend for a championship, while that isn’t the case for Ball, who was immediately implemented into a leadership role on one of the youngest teams in the league.
In 27 games this season, Ball has averaged a modest 8.9 points per game, but has filled up the stat sheet in other ways. He has nearly accumulated an even seven rebounds, is averaging seven assists per contest, while totaling over one block and steal, as well.