Lonzo Ball has had his share of ups and downs so far in his rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers. But one thing that is apparent with Ball is that he is capable of affecting the game in a number of ways, despite his inconsistent shooting.
A number of players, past and present, have been complimentary of Lonzo’s skill set so far this season. The group includes LeBron James, which further fueled speculation he will sign with the Lakers as a free agent, and Dwyane Wade after Ball had a strong showing against the Miami Heat.
The latest is former Lakers forward Matt Barnes. He appeared on the In The Zone podcast with Chris Broussard and likened Ball to other pass-first point guards while praising him as a top talent:
“It’s special to be able to effect the game without necessarily scoring a bunch of points. It takes a special individual. I was blessed to play with a lot of them. Steve Nash, Chris Paul, guys that really can do either or, but would rather pass. Somebody like Lonzo is a special talent. I think he kind of got off to a slow start because, one, it’s a new experience; he’s 19-20. But then all the trash talking with his dad and the world. I think everything has kind of simmered down and you’re starting to see him get it a little bit. He’s going to be a special player.”
Lonzo has certainly been under an insane amount of pressure thanks to his father as well as the expectations of taking over the reins of his hometown franchise. While his shooting has been hit or miss, the rest of his game has been as advertised, if not better.
Barnes likening Ball to the likes of Nash and Paul is high praise as both are future Hall of Famers. Ball definitely has the same mindset as both as he constantly gets open looks for teammates and can impact the game without scoring 20 points every night.
There is still plenty of room for growth in Lonzo’s game, but he has tools in his game that simply can’t be taught. Barnes, and many others, recognize that which is why they see the potential for Lonzo to be special.
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