When it comes to Lonzo Ball reaching the level of expectations that his father and the media set for him, he gets cut no slack.
As the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft, the hype train that Ball rode in seemed to have crashed and burned early in the 2018 season. LeBron James arrived and Ball was constantly mentioned in potential trade talks involving another superstar to pair with the King.
NBA Trade Rumors: 3 potential trade destinations for Lonzo Ball https://t.co/S9H4ohE94N via @sportskeeda
It was a bad sign. Trading Zo would be an admittance by Magic & Co. that drafting him was a mistake.
Still, Ball remains a Laker despite the trade smoke constantly being thrown his way. Call it the basketball savvy and patience of Magic Johnson at work. Or maybe the disinterest of possible trade partners. Maybe even the increased commitment of LeBron to Ball’s development.
Ball doesn’t sit on the bench in the fourth quarter, in a shooting shirt, as a bystander to greatness anymore. He’s an integral part of the Lakers’ growing success. Lonzo’s even dunking like Bron these days.
Lonzo & Lebron’s dunks from last night are very similar. https://t.co/V2l2VrpZDa
We got a glimpse into what “Ball at his best” will look like in the future during Saturday night’s 128-100 beatdown of the Charlotte Hornets. James and Ball both notched triple-doubles and became the first teammates to do so wearing purple and gold since Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did it in 1982.
LeBron James and Lonzo Ball both recorded triple-doubles tonight. The first pair to do so for the @Lakers since Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabaar. #LakeShow LeBron: 24 pts, 12 reb, 11 ast Lonzo: 16 pts, 10 reb, 10 ast https://t.co/bQbgkRI6l3
They also became the 8th tandem in NBA history to record a triple-double in the same game. Now that LaVar is focused on Melo Ball’s career at SPIRE Institute, the world is getting to know the real Lonzo Ball. He’s respectful, chill, highly competitive and he has a mean streak that most of us didn’t know existed.
Ball is developing an all-around game that will complement LeBron magnificently once the second-year player finds some consistency. After his big night on Saturday, Zo regressed with a pedestrian 10-5-4 stat line in a blowout loss to Washington on Sunday night. He’s getting there though.
At his best, he gives the Lakers another playmaker. Once they secure two more big-time scorers, the magic of Ball will truly be illuminated in LA’s style of play.
December 15, 2018 | Lonzo Ball Triple Double Lakers vs Hornets 16 Pts, 10 Rebs, 10 Asts, 3 DUNKS! | FreeDawkins – NBA Video’ #DawkinsLONZO #DawkinsLAKERS –Like And Subscribe For More! Follow me on Twitter – https://twitter.com/DawkinsMTA #Dawkins2018December15 DISCLAIMER – All clips property of the NBA.
At 18-12, the Lakers are in contention for a Top 5 seed in the playoffs. If they want to ascend any higher in the rankings, guys such as Ball have to bring the ruckus every night as LeBron does.
Draft busts don’t put up triple-doubles, so we can erase that description from the list of words describing Zo in his second year in the NBA. There’s no better example than the way he and John Wall went at it on Sunday night. As Zo gets more confident and vocal, he will begin to earn the respect of superstars who wanted to rip his throat out during his rookie season.
If that’s not a foul, I don’t know what basketball is!” Lonzo Ball & John Wall blocking each other. https://t.co/F1OFRV2FCC
At 21 years old, Ball’s potential is off the charts. And along with the advantage of playing with LeBron who will do all of the heavy lifting (for now), the future’s still bright for one of the most polarizing players the NBA has ever seen.