Lonzo Ball is one of two rookies in the league that has put up multiple triple doubles this season along with Ben Simmons. He’s averaging 7.1 assists per game, second amongst all rookies in the league. Fourth amongst all rookies in rebounds per game. Third amongst all rookies in steals and blocks per game. And also only one of two guards with at least 30 steals and 20 blocks in the entire league to this point. So to answer the question is Lonzo Ball a bust? No. He absolutely is not.
For anyone that has actually watched every Lakers game, you can see the beginning of Lavar’s vision. Against the 76ers, the Lakers were able to snap their five game losing streak in large part due to Lonzo. The game was tied at 104, with four seconds left, Lonzo received a pass and drove baseline, kicked the ball out to a wide open Brandon Ingram who calmly knocked down the winning 3, giving the team a 107-104 victory.
Lonzo’s ability to draw in the defense, and find a wide open shooter, are the types of winning plays that we’ve seen him make routinely, early in his career.
Against the Washington Wizards, Lonzo was able to run a similar play, sucking in the defense and finding Julius Randle for a clean look at a wide open three. That play cut the Wizards lead from 4 to 1 and gave the Lakers the momentum they needed to ultimately pull out an overtime victory.
Lonzo’s passing isn’t just limited to half court sets. He is able to see the full court and catch the defense sleeping allowing his team to get easy buckets.
His vision and basketball IQ are signs of a highly cerebral player with limitless potential and I, for one, can’t wait to see where that potential takes him in the years to come.
Many people forget that rookies tend to be inconsistent and have bad games. It takes time for the game to slow down, and to find the confidence to make tough calls when their team depends on them, particularly point guards. Much like Lonzo, Jason Kidd also struggled with shooting, but added value with his defensive play. Their similarities extend beyond just shooting, as you can see in the graphic below. In their first 11 career games, Lonzo and Kidd averaged almost identical numbers. Kidd is now a sure fire Hall of Famer, but of course, we all forget his early career struggles.
In his rookie season, Magic Johnson also struggled with some decision making and this led to some referring to him as “Tragic” Johnson. That didn’t stop Magic from putting up monster numbers, not just as a rookie but throughout his career, leading the Lakers to multiple NBA titles. Magic may have had some difficulties early but he is now recognized as one of the best PG’s to ever play.
These things take time.