It didn’t take LA Lakers fans long to snap out of their enchantment with Lonzo Ball, his dad Lavar and The Big Baller Brand. At this time last season,The Ball Family was royalty and Lonzo was anointed as the saviour of Magic Johnson’s post-Kobe LA franchise.
Ball had his difficulties adjusting to the pro game and dealing with the distractions, heightened attention and dissension from other players that came as a result of his father's unfiltered wheeling and dealing.
With LeBron in the fold and the franchise taking a whole new direction, Ball has gone from No. 2 overall pick and projected starting point guard for the next 15 years to disposable trade bait for Kawhi Leonard, and to a possible backup role to veteran Rajon Rondo this season.
Rondo has already said that there's an open competition for the starting job. And when he signed, he was basically assured of that.
With the moves the Lakers are making it seems less and less likely to me that Lonzo Ball will finish his career as a Laker... You don't sign a guy of Rajon Rondo's merit with the hopes of you're going to spell our guy that's supposed to be our Magic Johnson."
The Lakers already made it clear that LiAngelo Ball would never wear the purple and gold, which was a severe blow to LaVar’s sworn promise that all three of his sons would be leading the Lakers to NBA glory by 2020.
Now that the Lakers are specifically constructing a team around LeBron, there’s a chance that King James prefers the veteran savvy of Rajon Rondo over the unpolished potential of Ball. And what Bron wants, he gets in LA.
Lakers coach Luke Walton thinks the competition will benefit the young guard and offer the team some insurance if Ball has another injury-plagued season.
“Well I think it’s going to be great for Lonzo," Walton said via FS1's Undisputed. "He even shines more with the more talent that's around him because he’s unselfish. He’s a winner and he wants to get other people involved all the time. When you get shooters and All-Stars around him it just brings out what he does best and he's going to continue to develop his personal game as well.
“So obviously, between the injuries and how much we struggled last season when he was out, we like it was important to get another point guard that we can rely on if he were to continue dealing with those type of injuries. We feel very confident that Rondo is that guy and we also feel that Rondo can help teach Lonzo the NBA game.”
While Walton braces everyone for Lonzo’s benching, Rondo’s saying all of the right things that a veteran should say. Especially when he knows he’s about to snatch a job from a young, highly touted celebrity young gun. It’s called psychological warfare and Rondo is a master at it.
Rajon Rondo (@RajonRondo) signed with the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday (7/5/18) and expressed optimism about working with 20-year-old point guard Lonzo Ball. "His I.Q. At 19 or 20 years old is probably the best I've ever seen or the game has ever seen," he said. https://t.co/JBVnvNlmpP
Lakers fans want to win and Magic wants to keep Bron happy. Ball might win the starting job, but his playing time will be slashed considerably with Rondo in the building, especially in crunch time and fourth quarters.
On the other hand, being mentored by LeBron and Rondo might benefit Ball tremendously and help him fulfill the meteoric expectations his father and the world set for him.
Any way you slice it, this is a turning point in Ball’s young career. The debate will be a lively one as to who should be the starting point guard for the Lakers this season.
Who Should Lakers Start at Point Guard, Lonzo Ball or Rajon Rondo? https://t.co/vssNdOaVd0