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Lonzo Fever Chart: No Diagnosis Yet

October 20th, 2017 · No Comments · Basketball, Clippers, Lakers, NBA

Los Angeles Lakers fans presumably saw the stat line from the NBA debut of savior/point guard Lonzo Ball.

It was scary.

The headline espn.com ran on the Associated Press report began like this: “Deflated Ball”.

Couldn’t argue with that. Lonzo was unable to escape the enthusiastic defense of Clippers guard Patrick Beverley and the rookie from UCLA had three points on 1-for-6 shooting with four assists and two turnovers. He did have nine rebounds. There was that. But the Clippers rolled, 108-92.

Then came Game 2 of the Lonzo Era, and he missed a triple-double by one assist.

Hey, wait! Which one is the real Lonzo Ball?

At this point, we have to say, “Both of them.”

Ball will be tested, and probably roughly handled, by teams and individuals who make it a priority to shut down the rookie the Lakers hope to rebuild around.

Beverley and the Clippers, for example … all of whom must have grown tired of the attention lavished on the 19-year-old kid (and his bombastic father, LaVar) when they, the Clippers, are the L.A. team that has made a habit of reaching the playoffs, of late, while the Lakers have hung out with the league’s bottom-feeders.

Said Beverley: “I just had to set the tone. I told him after the game, due to all the riff-raff his dad brings, he’s going to get a lot of people coming at him. He has to be ready for that, and I let him know after the game.

“But what better way to start him off. I was 94 feet guarding him tonight. Welcome his little young ass to the NBA.”

And if Lakers fans are truthful, a lot of them were thinking, after Game 1, “Oh, no! Lonzo is going to be a bust!”

Then came Game 2, tonight:

Lonzo had his fingerprints all over a 132-130 road victory over the Phoenix Suns, scoring 29 points (with four threes), 11 rebounds and nine assists (against four turnovers) in 37 minutes.

In this one, not much defense was played anywhere, and particularly not against Ball. Check the highlights video: No. 2 is Eric Bledsoe, Suns point guard, who could not be bothered to spend much energy chasing the kid. Several of the shots Lonzo made were uncontested.

To his credit, Lonzo seems prepared to take the good with the bad.

“Just be more aggressive,” he said of his state of mind tonight. “You know, last game, I shot six shots; that didn’t work out too well, so I figured I’d try something else.”

And so it goes. The whole of the season will find fans and analysts dissecting Ball’s game but, barring injury, here’s betting he winds up averaging about 13 points, five rebounds and seven assists a game.

(Some believe Ball’s career might compare to that of Jason Kidd, who¬† averaged 11.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 7.7 assists as a 21-year-old rookie in 1994-95.)

Something along those lines would be a solid first season for Lonzo.

Take it from Beverley, who will get three more shots at deflating Ball.

“He’s going to be a great talent, but he has to go through the tough times. He’ll appreciate this when he looks back on it.”

 

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