Lonzo Ball And Lakers Come Up Small In NBA Debut

    Months leading up to and after the NBA Draft,  we were force fed the nauseating hype and social media-driven narrative about Lonzo Ball being this transcendent future NBA talent who will storm the league and automatically make the Lakers better. 

    Careers arent made in one game and thats understood, but Id be remiss if I didnt say that I expected a bit more from the anointed savior of LA in his NBA debut. Of course, we cant over-sell Lonzos unspectacular and totally mediocre three points, four assists and nine rebounds in 29 minutes in his Lakers debut during a blowout loss to the LA Clippers on Thursday night. But we cant under-sell it either when comparing it to debuts of other all-world guards throughout NBA history, who didn’t get half of the love Lonzo has gotten before ever stepping on an NBA court.  

    Barstool Sports on Twitter

    Michael Rapaport shares his review on Lonzo Ball’s NBA Opening Night https://t.co/psilMkc3Zf

    Ever since the Big Baller Brand blurred the lines of fantasy and reality and LaVar Ball suckered the world into believing everything he said about his sons by smoke0screening the situation with great fodder for scoop-thirsty trend journalists and a dope business acumen, we have been reminding folks that the NBA is a different beast. 

    Unfortunately Ball debuted against one of the NBAs most beastly defenders in Patrick Beverley, a guy who wears his Rodney Dangerfield tag like a badge of honor or a pair of Zo2’s if you will, when the unheralded guard battles the NBAs various hype machines. 

    We got blown out, so I didnt play too well, Ball said. It was great to start out, but all I care about is winning, and we lost today. Weve got to regroup.

    Everyone knew the Lakers wouldnt be that good, but most agreed that Ball would be great so the team would show obvious improvement as the year progressed. That still remains to be seen, but during this difficult NBA journey, the highly-celebrated 19-year-old wonder-kid will go through some severe growing pains and he will be the target of every NBA player that lines up across from him on the hardwood. 

    Steven R. Walker on Twitter

    More footage of Lonzo Ball’s NBA debut … https://t.co/3ALYrQUU37

    Beverley, who joined the Clippers as part of Chris Pauls trade to the Rockets, had just 10 points, but he gave Ball a smack-in-the-face introduction to elite NBA defense. 

    I just had to set the tone, Beverley said. I told him after the game, due to all the riff-raff his dad brings, hes 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 a better way to start him off. I was 94 feet guarding him tonight. Welcome his little young ass to the NBA.

    After the game, Beverly added insult to injury yelling out that Ball is A Weak Motherf*cker. With all of the junk his pops has been dishing the past year, Lonzo can expect that kind of disrespect every night. 

    Jason McIntyre on Twitter

    Lonzo Ball debut v Patrick Beverley 1-of-6 FG, 3 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 turnovers Gonna get a lot of this https://t.co/85pcRb2LHx

    Not the debut Lakers fans, LaVar Ball apologists and Lonzo Ball jock riders wanted. Its just one game, but is it a reach to say that Ball’s projected impact as a player may have been inflated a bit by the captivation of Big Baller Brand’s historical come-up. 

    The hype is what made the Ball Family rich before they ever had to put in any pro work. If Lonzo doesnt get his game up quick, the hype wont lead him to a Rookie of the Year Award or any respect from the established NBA killers who had to walk over hot coals barefoot to get their respect in this league. 

    There have been rookies who came out of the gate leaving no doubt that they were future superstars and would need no training wheels as they asserted themselves as future power brokers of the game.  Fellow rookie De’Aaron Fox’s NBA debut was much better than the higher-rated Lonzo: 24 minutes, 14 points, five assists. 

    FULL Game Highlights Of De’Aaron Fox From His Sacramento Kings Debut

    De’Aaron Fox impressed in his first game with the Sacramento Kings, scoring 14 points, adding 5 assists and 4 rebounds. Check out his full game highlights here! Subscribe to the NBA: http://bit.ly/2rCglzY For news, stories, highlights and more, go to our official website at http://www.nba.com Get NBA LEAGUE PASS: http://www.nba.com/leaguepass

    Lets check out some other anti-Lonzo Balls. Five players who lived up to the hype right out of the gate: 

    Damian Lillard scored 23 points and dished 11 assists in his NBA debut. It was a win over the Lakers in the 2012-13 season. Lilliard joined Isiah Thomas and Oscar Robertson as the only players to record 20 points and 10 assists in their debut.

    Damian Lillard Historical Debut

    Damian Lillard had 23 points, 11 assists. He joins Oscar Robertson and Isiah Thomas as only players in history to have 20, 10 in NBA debut.

    Speaking of Thomas,  Zeke joined a 37-win Pistons team in 1982 and scored 31 points and dished 11 dimes in his pro debut, leading his team to a win and changing the culture of a downtrodden franchise. 

    Isiah Thomas – [MIX 2012] [HD]

    Isiah Thomas – HIGHLIGHTS – TRIBUTE – 2012 – Isiah Lord Thomas III (play /aze./; born April 30, 1961), nicknamed “Zeke”, is a retired American basketball player who played collegiately for the Indiana University Hoosiers.

    Let’s not forget Allen Iverson’s debut against the Bucks, as The Answer was instant dominance and a human highlight film from the jump. Ball plays like he is in a slow symphony, while Iverson was a gangster rap cut on repeat, leading his team with 30 points and serving six dishes. His one-handed dunk during the game put the world on notice and the rest is history. 

    Rookie Allen Iverson NBA DEBUT 1996.11.01 76ers vs Bucks – 30 Pts, 6 Assists For AI!

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    Lets throw a big man in there as to not make our comparisons too guard heavy. Once upon a time the post pirates counted too and this is about rookies dominating. David Robinson came out of college putting the smack down on opposing players and making San Antonio a legit squad. Robinson put up a monster 23 points and 17 rebounds in his debut against the Lakers. 

    Following that impressive performance, Magic Johnson would state some rookies are never really rookies.

    We found out on Thursday that, although higher on Ball than anyone, Magic’s statement doesnt apply to the No. 2 overall pick in the draft out of UCLA. He looked like a rookie and played like one in his highly anticipated NBA debut. 

    JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.