Paul Oberjuerge header image 2

Lonzo Ball and Ridiculous Expectations

October 3rd, 2017 · No Comments · Basketball, Kobe, Lakers

I already feel sorry for Lonzo Ball.

What we can reasonably expect from the Los Angeles Lakers’ 19-year-old NBA rookie bears no resemblance to what most fans and even many “experts” seem to expect from him.

One of those self-professed experts is his father, LaVar, who does Lonzo no favors when he suggests — well, actually, states as inevitable fact — that his son will be the league’s rookie of the year and already is a better basketball player than one Stephen Curry, of whom you may have heard.

Let’s look at three highly regarded players of the past generation and see what they did as rookies.

Player 1 was 19-and-a-half in his rookie season. He played in 80 games, starting 48, averaged 28.2 minutes per game and shot 41 percent from the field and averaged 13.2 points per game.

Player 2 was barely 19 in his first season. He played in 79 games, starting 40, averaged 28.8 minutes and shot 40.2 percent from the field and averaged 9.4 points per game.

Player 3 was a tick over age 18 in his rookie season. He played in 71 games but started only six. He averaged 15.5 minutes and 7.6 points per game and shot 41.7 percent from the field.

And who were these players?

Player 1 is D’Angelo Russell, who went to the Lakers in the 2015 draft — as the second pick overall.

Player 2 is Brandon Ingram, who went to the Lakers in the 2016 draft — as the second pick overall.

Player 3 is Kobe Bryant, who went to the Lakers in a draft-day trade in 1996, the 13th player taken.

And Lonzo Ball, the second pick overall of the 2017 draft, is going to better than those guys? None of whom were rookie of the year, all of whom struggled to make a dismal 40 percent of their shots from the field?

We also should take into account Lonzo’s muted athleticism and tragic shooting form.

Yet we expect Lonzo Ball to take the NBA by storm by … throwing a lot of nice passes, apparently. In a season during which he will be among the youngest 1 percent of NBA players.

Lonzomania is so intense that some are extrapolating greatness from two exhibition games — 2-for-9 in 36 minutes, with eight assists and three turners and five points … and 3-for-6 in 21 minutes, with four assists and four turnovers and eight points.

It isn’t fair. It isn’t right. And it is what it is, in the overheated news environment of this decade.

Lonzo Ball may be a great player … someday. Almost certainly not this season, and probably not the next.

Kobe was not an outstanding player until his third season in the NBA, when he averaged 19.9 points per game and shot 46.5 percent from the field. And he is one of the five best players of the past 20 years.

Asking or expecting Lonzo Ball to do what three of his Lakers predecessors did not do in their first season — be the star (nut just a star) of a playoffs team … it isn’t reasonable. As we shall see and, I hope, accept.



0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment