“They’re soft. They don’t know how to coach my son,” Ball told Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus, in comments published Monday. “I know how to coach him. I tell him to go get the victory. Stop messing around.”
Ball has a point — why haven’t the Lakers told their prized rookie to “go get the victory”? It seems like such simple, obvious advice.
On a more serious note, it’s apparent, as Pincus points out, that Walton and his staff are taking a patient approach with a young Lakers squad. In the grand scheme of things, that makes sense, as Los Angeles has little hope of competing with the Western Conference’s heavyweights anytime soon and is likely better served by not placing unrealistic expectations on its players to do just that.
Through 17 games, the Lakers have a 7-10 record, which sounds about right for a squad that was predicted by Las Vegas sports books to finish with about 32 to 34 victories. As for Lonzo Ball’s individual performance thus far, he has flashed his all-around talent and passing skills, with two triple-doubles already, putting him in a tie with LeBron James as the youngest NBA players to post a pair.
However, Ball’s shooting has been a major source of concern, as he has a .313 percentage overall and a meager .228 percentage from three-point range. Earlier in the month, LaVar Ball suggested that his son might be shooting better if the Lakers gave him more playing time, particularly at the ends of games.
“Let him play the whole fourth quarter and bet you’ll always win. He’ll get into a better flow,” LaVar Ball said at the time, in comments also made to Pincus. “The in and out, sitting out six to 10 minutes? He’s not going to take no shots because he’s not in the flow. He don’t want to hurt the team by shooting.”
Since then, Ball has become more pointed in his critique of what the Lakers are asking from his son. “Go get the W. Do whatever it takes,” he said, in remarks that Pincus indicated were made on Friday. “That’s why I’m down here saying, ‘Rebound.’
“He’s been away from me too long. I see tendencies in his game — they’re trying to baby him a little bit.”
Ball scoffed at assessments from Walton such as this: “The important thing for us is that we learn from our mistakes, we keep our head up, we keep working and grinding away to get where we all want to be.”
“What I mean by babying [Lonzo], ‘He’ll figure it out,’ ” Ball said. “It ain’t about that. ‘Be patient with him?’ Ain’t no patience if you’re winning.”
It has been evident since Lonzo’s one season at UCLA that his father thinks he has all the answers, and is not the least bit shy about sharing his thoughts. In fairness, LaVar Ball’s strong belief in his methods has largely been vindicated, considering that not only have all three of his sons become standout basketball players but that Lonzo was drafted by his beloved hometown team — exactly as Ball had frequently predicted.
On the other hand, Lonzo’s awkward shooting form, which was widely questioned going into the draft, now looks like it will need a complete overhaul in the offseason, despite his father’s past assertions that it’s effective enough. Then again, this is the same man who recently said that when his middle son, LiAngelo, returned to the United States from nearly being imprisoned in China for shoplifting, a situation averted at least in part by Trump’s appeal to Chinese President Xi Jinping, he told the teenager, “They try to make a big deal out of nothing sometimes.”
So things that may seem like a very big deal to many others apparently don’t always concern LaVar Ball, a mentality that more than extends to any possible qualms about disparaging the coaching Lonzo is getting from the Lakers through 17 games. Of course, given that Ball’s goal is to create headlines, all the better to tout his Big Baller Brand company, his “go get the victory” approach to publicity can hardly be questioned.
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