Posts Tagged ‘Lonzo Ball’

A report emerged last week that Lonzo Ball had a torn meniscus in his left knee, but the Los Angeles Lakers know it didn’t leak from their end.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Lakers believe the injury was leaked from Ball’s camp, perhaps in an effort to discourage a trade out of Los Angeles following the curious acquisition of Rajon Rondo in free agency.

The Lakers prioritized player development last season, but their timeline has been expedited by the addition of LeBron James. Their new expectation is to challenge for a title, and the Lakers may potentially deal Ball and other prospects for a second All-Star – such as Kawhi Leonard – to assist James.

However, Ball and his family are situated in nearby Chino Hills, and would presumably love for him to remain with the Lakers.

Ball battled an MCL sprain in his left knee and suffered other small injuries that limited him to just 52 games last season. The Lakers have since placed a priority on his training regiment this summer, but it’s unclear if he’ll be on the roster at the start of the 2018-19 season.

The 20-year-old lead guard averaged 10.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, 7.2 assists and 1.7 steals last season, although he only hit 36 percent from the field and 30 percent from deep.

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The Big Baller Brand’s LaVar Ball is making a big proclamation.

Despite all of the roster changes the Cleveland Cavaliers recently underwent in an attempt to turn their season around and possibly sway LeBron James to re-sign, LaVar remains in the mindset that the four-time league Most Valuable Player will ultimately end up playing with Lonzo Ball and the Los Angeles Lakers next season.

“Who said it was a rumor? Didn’t I tell you he was coming in? Trust me when I tell you,” LaVar said to TMZ Sports upon entering his pop-up shop in Los Angeles.

LaVar even feels a player with James’ credentials and ability will benefit from suiting up next to someone like his son.

“Lonzo will make him a better player,” he added.

Should they join forces, LaVar already has a nickname worked out for a potential LeBron-Lonzo pairing: “Ball Stars.”

The Cavaliers shipped Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye to Los Angeles prior to the trade deadline, which will clear an added $13.6 million in cap space for the Lakers this summer. This means the organization can potentially sign two max-contract free agents, and that could entice James to ultimately make the jump to the Western Conference.

Lonzo, meanwhile, has been sidelined with a sprained MCL in his left knee since Jan. 15. He’s averaging 10.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 7.1 assists on 35.6 percent shooting from the field his rookie year.

If there’s one true negative to LaVar Ball’s antics, it’s the fact that his 20-year-old son has to answer for some of them as an NBA rookie. And some in the Los Angeles Lakers organization are concerned about the toll that is taking on Lonzo Ball, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.

In LaVar’s most disruptive stunt yet as far as the Lakers are concerned, he suggested over the weekend that the team has checked out on head coach Luke Walton. That ignited a firestorm of backlash against the senior Ball, while his son attempted to distance himself from the remarks.

A source told Shelburne that Lonzo is more concerned with improving as a player than getting involved in controversy manufactured by his father, something he’s alluded to in the past.

“That is just his opinion,” Ball said of LaVar’s remarks Sunday, via the OC Register’s Bill Oram. “(LaVar) has coached me his whole life. So, he is definitely going to have a strong opinion about it. That’s just what it is.”

Ball has been shooting better since the beginning of December after a rough start. His court vision remains strong, averaging seven assists per game.

The Lakers have already asked LaVar to tone down public criticism of Walton, and have tried to mitigate the media circus around him at the Staples Center by keeping reporters away from him.

LaVar Ball’s list of detractors grows longer by the day.

Hall of Famer Charles Barkley is the latest to take aim at the controversial major domo of the Ball household, calling the 50-year-old father of Lakers rookie Lonzo and Lithuanian-bound teenagers LiAngelo and LaMelo untalented and exploitative on ESPN’s Golic and Wingo show.

Barkley pulled no punches in assessing Ball’s parenting skills and motivations:

I just feel sadness that the media – CNN, ESPN – has given this guy a platform. He represents everything that is bad about sports. It’s all about him. I just feel bad for those kids. Everybody talks about how he might be a good father, this and that. No he’s not; he’s just exploiting his kids. I love the kid playing for the Lakers. I don’t know about the other two kids. (LaVar) is all about “Big Baller Brand.” He has no foreseeable talent. He’s trying to make money on his kids, and I just feel sadness for those kids because they’re going to do whatever he tells them to do. I just don’t like the guy at all, plain and simple. And don’t tell me he’s a good father. Just because you exploit your kids, trying to make money because you have no talent, that does not make you a good father. That makes you exploiting your kids. And I don’t like the guy at all. And I wish they would quit putting him on television, because he has no talent whatsoever.

Having played two decades in the purple and gold, Kobe Bryant understands Los Angeles Lakers fans always expect greatness.

In an interview with Chris McGee on Spectrum SportsNet’s “Connected With,” Bryant urged the young, rebuilding Lakers – Lonzo Ball, in particular – to approach each game with the mentality of being great immediately.

“He needs to get better now,” Bryant said of Ball, according to Josh Martin of USA Today.

The five-time champion added that other youngsters, such as Julius Randle and Kyle Kuzma, must also take the same approach toward being great. That mentality would presumably also apply to last year’s No. 2 pick, Brandon Ingram.

Bryant compared the rebuild to his own situation when he joined the Lakers in the late-’90s. He was just a teenager out of high school, but developed quickly and won his first title by age 22.

“We never thought, ‘OK, we’re gonna win four years from now.’ We really thought, ‘This is our year. We’re gonna get this done. We’re gonna push, push, push, push, push, get better now.’ And in the process of having that kind of impatience, you develop. If you’re just patiently going about it, you’ll never get there. For players, it’s a kind of patient impatience,” Bryant said.

He was realistic in his expectations of this roster, though. They’re hardly in a position to challenge for the playoffs, and he urged fans to patient.

“This team here is not a contending team. They haven’t won anything. … So patience has to be required. That day will come. These young players will grow, and then everybody will look up and marvel at the amount of talent that we have.”

While Lonzo Ball won’t express it publicly, the Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard is frustrated with the way his team is playing, according to his father.

“He’s very disgusted but won’t say anything because he’s not used to losing like this,” LaVar said of his 20-year-old son Wednesday on SiriusXM NBA Radio.

The Lakers have lost five straight games and sit 11th in the Western Conference. While they have the eighth-best defensive rating in the league, their offense ranks among the league’s worst.

LaVar believes their woes can be fixed easily if “everybody would just drop their egos and just listen” to what he’s saying, and called out the head coach specifically over his purported mismanagement of Lonzo’s minutes.

“Luke Walton is doing what he’s doing, just like playing Lonzo in and out,” LaVar said. “Playing him a few minutes here, they wonder why his legs are sore. ‘Cause they’re running him a hundred miles per hour and then they shut him down for 10 minutes.”

LaVar added he doesn’t understand why the No. 2 pick isn’t starting fourth quarters and sometimes even spends the entire final frame on the bench.

Of course, it’s not the first time the loquacious dad has criticized the Lakers, and specifically, Walton’s decisions. He previously said the team was “soft” and didn’t know how to coach Lonzo. More recently, he said Walton’s decision to burn a timeout late against the Golden State Warriors cost Los Angeles the game and wasn’t a “Big Baller move.”

Lonzo is averaging 8.7 points while shooting just 31.3 percent from the field and 25 percent from deep, to go along with seven assists, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.3 steals in 32.9 minutes per game for the Lakers, who are on pace to miss the playoffs for the fifth straight year.

LaVar Ball says he knows what type of coaching his son, 20-year-old rookie point guard Lonzo Ball, needs to be successful in the NBA, but thinks that isn’t what the Los Angeles Lakers are currently providing him

“They’re soft. They don’t know how to coach my son. I know how to coach him,” LaVar said Friday after the Lakers fell to 6-10 with a 122-113 loss to the Phoenix Suns, according to Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus. “I tell him to go get the victory. Stop messing around.”

The head of Big Baller Brand added that he has no problem with Lakers head coach Luke Walton, but that he does with losing games.

After falling to the Suns, Walton said it’s important for his younger players to learn from their errors, and not to get too low each time they lose.

LaVar would apparently take a different approach with the impressionable roster, saying he would hold them more accountable for their mistakes.

“What I mean by babying (Lonzo), ‘He’ll figure it out,'” LaVar said. “It ain’t about that. ‘Be patient with him?’ Ain’t no patience if you’re winning.”

“They’re letting it go too easy, saying they’re a young team,” he added. “Forget about that. Put the (onus) on them. Say, ‘You guys need to win. You’ve got enough talent. Win some games.'”

LaVar added that losing at home “ain’t OK,” and said there aren’t any moral victories in a loss. “That’s why they’re so cool with losing by five or six, (to) say, ‘We was in the game.'”

Lonzo followed up his six-point performance against the Suns with his second triple-double of the 2017-18 campaign, ending Sunday’s 18-point blowout of the Denver Nuggets with 11 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 assists in just under 40 minutes of action.

He’s averaging 8.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, 7.1 assists, and 1.5 steals for the 7-10 Lakers, although his 31.3 field-goal percentage and his 22.8 3-point percentage has left a lot to be desired.