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A Wheeler's Opinion: Lonzo Ball Can't Save the Lakers

Lonzo Ball LA Lakers


And he's  nowhere near the savior Magic Johnson and company thought he is.

For 20 years, the Los Angeles Lakers and their legions of fans have been both blessed and spoiled for having Kobe Bryant scoring the crucial baskets when the game was on the line. With Kobe having Shaquille O' Neal and later on, Pau Gasol alongside him, the Lakers have won 5 championships with the last one being against the Boston Celtics in 2010 during a Finals series that went to a Game 7 after Boston blew their chance to clinch the title in Game 6 in their home floor. That was 8 years ago, folks. Lonzo Ball was 12-years old by then.

Now that Kobe Bryant has been long retired from the NBA, the Lakers, despite having unquestionably talented young guys on their team, are still struggling to even make it to the playoffs. While this season might be their best chance to return to the playoffs as they are currently 8 games behind the eighth-seeded team in the Western Conference with a 23-34 record, it's still a long shot and part of the impossibility is none other than Lonzo Ball, last year's number 2 pick during the NBA Draft.

Here's the problem with Lonzo Ball:

Despite being one of the most hyped rookies in recent memory, he is nowhere near the top candidates for this season's Rookie of the Year. Ben Simmons is currently playing WAY better than Lonzo Ball. Even Donovan Mitchell has been averaging 19 points per game for the Utah Jazz who are on an 11-game winning streak. But Lonzo Ball? He's only norming 10 points and 7 assists this season while playing for 36 games so far, missing a ton of games including a big chunk of the 2018 games due to injury. Those averages could have been acceptable if Lonzo wasn't the number 2 pick but as it happened, he's the number 2 pick and with all the amount of hype that was built around him, sky-high expectations were laid down on Lonzo.

Magic Johnson and the rest of the guys working at the front office were probably that Lonzo Ball could be the knight in the shiny armor who will stop the Lakers from being so bad. Looking at Lonzo right now plus the LaVar Ball problem that doesn't seem to end, did Magic and company actually draft a savior or a problem?

To give credit to Lonzo, he isn't the main problem of the Lakers. It's more of his father, LaVar. Whenever Lonzo Ball wasn't given enough minutes or wasn't coached the way LaVar thought his son should be coached, he would continuously criticize Luke Walton. And the latest LaVar Ball press release? Sign his other sons or the Lakers will lose Lonzo Ball. Seriously, is LaVar Ball even at the right position to make such demands?

While Lonzo Ball didn't react after hearing his father's latest rants, the elder Ball is causing some serious problems for the Lakers than Isaiah Thomas' inability to play defense.


Conclusion

While the Lakers will have the opportunity (and the cash) to sign two big stars come July, 2018, they will also have to make a decision whether or not they can keep Lonzo Ball. Before their 3-game losing streak, the Lakers were actually one of the hottest teams in 2018 and Lonzo Ball wasn't around in most parts. 

Bottomline: Many fans were thinking that Lonzo Ball may have been the next guy to carry the torch for the Lakers but as it happens, he is clearly being outplayed by Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram and yes, even Kyle Kuzma. Mind you, folks, Kuzma was the 27th pick by the Brooklyn Nets when he was included in a trade that sent him and Brook Lopez to the Lakers. Kuzma is currently averaging 15 points per game- the second-leading scorer of the Lakers. Folks, he's the 27TH PICK!


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