Before the Big Baller bubble of purity burst and Ferrari driving LiAngelo got caught doing some rich white girl-type boosting at a Louis Vuitton store in China, LaVar Ball was beefing about Lonzo not playing in the fourth quarter.
In a growing trend that began two weeks ago in Toronto on his 20th birthday, Lonzo sat the final minutes of the Lakers' 100-93 win over Phoenix on Monday night, leading to more questions about his transition to the NBA and whether or not Magic Johnson and LA is losing faith in their anointed saviour.
The #Lakers won, and Lonzo ball was benched the entire 4th quarter Monday night. "We got the win, everything worked out, so I got no complaints." https://t.co/NPWtkU9FXf
According to Lakers coach Luke Walton, Ball wasn't reinserted into the lineup because the guard combination of veteran Corey Brewer and youngster Jordan Clarkson were on fire down the stretch.
After the game, Ball took it in stride, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com:
"We got a win so I got no complaints," said Ball, who exited the game with 2:47 left in the third quarter for Clarkson. "My teammates got it done in the fourth and we had to at least get one on this road trip."
"We got the win, everything worked out, so I got no complaints and J.C. was hot," he added. "I would have rolled with him, too."
Ball shot 3-for-10 and had seven points, five assists, five rebounds, two steals and four turnovers when he left the game for good in the third quarter with the Suns (5-10) up by four. For those lukewarm hoop fans who are watching games because they thought Lonzo Ball would immediately be Magic Johnson and fed into the hype, welcome to the reality of NBA life, where teenagers rarely come into a grown man’s league and have their way.
According to nba.com, Walton noted that this game was a prime example of when young players must simply watch and learn from the veterans on their team. LaVar Ball and riders of the Lonzo Ball hype train who thought the rookie wouldn't have to earn his minutes are realizing that they were mistaken.
Lonzo is still confident and obviously driven by his doubters.
If you not with us now don't be with us later... we gone figure it out 👌🏽
Walton understands that greatness is a process.
"Part of the development is that, though," said Walton. "The way the NBA's supposed to work and has worked, as long as I can remember, is young players come in and sit. And they watch vets do it, and they watch how vets do it. And they watch how vets train, how they take care of their body. And, they get hungry.
"As they get opportunities, they're more professional because they've learned from people who have done it before them. For any of our young guys to sit there, and if a vet's having a good game like Brewer was tonight, seeing how hard he works and seeing how he stayed ready even though he hadn't been playing big minutes, is part of the developmental plan for them."
Ball had the best game of his young career in his last meeting with Phoenix, scoring 29 points with 11 rebounds and nine assists, but his rookie season hs been up-and-down.
A few days ago, Lonzo became the youngest rookie on NBA history to notch a triple-double. This time around he didn’t have it going, but he's handling it with a laid back attitude as he always does.
Los Angeles Lakers point guard and rookie Lonzo Ball gets his 1st career triple double, with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 13 assists. He becomes the youngest player in NBA history (20 years, 15 days) to get a triple-double.
"My teammates got it done in the fourth and we had to at least get one on this road trip," said Ball, whose Lakers lost at Boston, Washington and Milwaukee on this trip. "Corey must like playing in Phoenix, this is the second time he came through for us out here, and J.C. is going to do what he does every time, so those two guys picked us up, especially down the stretch."
With LiAngelo trapped in China and Lonzo trapped on the pine in the fourth quarters of close games, this is the first real crisis and hit to a Big Baller Brand that rode a thirsty social media and celebrity wave to riches before they ever accomplished anything extraordinary at the pro level.
How LaVar handles his son’s recent struggles will be vital to the family accomplishing their initial goals of dominating the sports and entertainment market and expanding the family brand.