Trust me, I know what you’re thinking here but I’m not gonna do it. We’re ready and willing to scrutinize this kid without giving him the proper chance to develop. People got very carried away with the Summer League MVP run. The media and fans alike were too overzealous in hyping up the near triple double showcase in his 2nd game of his career against Phoenix. Most importantly however, people tend to forget that this 20 year old kid is just 12 games into his fucking career.
The Good: The obvious ones that come to mind are his passing and court vision, which power the Lakers’ fastbreak heavy, run and gun offense. He gets more than enough dick riding during live broadcasts for making routine chest passes on a daily basis though, so I wont do the same. One of the more interesting aspects for the Lakers’ to consider is the current state of Lonzo’s defensive ability. He’s certainly no John Wall or Patrick Beverly by any means, as ball stopping was certainly one of his main areas of critique coming out of UCLA. One concern worth mentioning here is his lack of aggression, which could be a contributing factor to this as well. Nevertheless, he’s shown a decent knack for shot blocking (0.8 per game) and steals (1.2 per game) in the open court early on this season, which has been impressive. The defensive rating of 102.4 and negative +/- could use some work, but that also comes as a result of team play and Luke Walton’s somewhat head scratching rotations as well. In short, he excels in exactly what he was brought there to do and it doesn’t hurt that he’s not completely lost on the defensive side of the ball.
The Bad: Before we label him as a bust or soft or whatever else, let’s take a sec to look deeper. For starters, Jason Kidd came out this week to detest the comparisons of Lonzo Ball to himself, citing his lack of aggression among other reasons in his determination that Ball has a long way to go fit the bill. This isn’t an unfair assessment of Ball, and if you’re being compared to a future lock for the Hall of Fame, you’d best be able to fill the shoes correctly. The interesting thing about it however is the similar start that Kidd had during his first 12 games of his career. Averaging just under 36 minutes through his first 12 games, Kidd put up eerily similar stats of 9.6 PPG, 6.4 REB and 6.3 AST on lackluster shooting splits of .345/.138/.733. A bad stretch of games and by all accounts, an entire seasons worth of subpar shooting had very little effect on the overall trajectory of Kidd’s career, as the multiple time all star would eventually refine his game to later claim the 8th most 3 pointers made in NBA history.
So while I’m not saying Lonzo will in fact turn out to become a Kidd 2.0, what I am saying is that patience is certainly needed here. In order to alleviate some of his woes however, he will inevitably have to change that unorthodox and nonsensical form that’s gotten him this far. It’s been discussed at length, but as a basketball player, I have no idea how he has become so comfortable to basically aim across the left side of his face as a right handed player. It’s incredibly inefficient in terms of form, and Lakers management has to be clamoring for the chance to fix it if this horrid slump continues.
It’s still incredibly early, leaving us nothing but opportunity for the face of the Big Baller Brand to finally show and prove. Until then, how about we let the kid get 2-3 years before we really see if Lavar was full of shit the entire time.