We all knew this was going to happen. All too often we see an overhyped rookie enter the league and struggle through the first part of the NBA slate. But rarely do we see the word "bust" thrown around with such schadenfreude following a 20-year-old's early failures. In reality, the reaction to Lonzo Ball's start was inevitable. LaVar Ball created a scenario in which it would be virtually impossible for Lonzo’s rookie season to be a success. The boasting about his son being the next great star in the NBA put a bullseye on Lonzo’s back. As soon as people saw even a glimpse of a struggle from Lonzo, bust talk was out in full force. But is that fair? To begin questioning whether Lonzo will be a bust after just fifteen games of his career? The short answer: no, of course not. But let's provide some context. At first glance, Ball’s numbers through his first fifteen games do not match up well with guys like Kyrie Irving and John Wall. But is this a fair comparison? Irving and Wall are very different talents with different games. The better comparison is Jason Kidd. The 1994-95 Rookie of the Year (along with Grant Hill) also had his shooting woes at the outset of his career. While the stats do show that Kidd was a better percentage shooter than Ball through the first 15 games of his career, the overall numbers are not all that different. Moreover, Ball is taking 1.7 more shots per game and nearly twice as many 3-pointers per game than Kidd did. (It's fair to note that, despite their similarities, Kidd played with much more aggression, speed and explosiveness than we've seen from Ball.) But the main reason we should try to compare them is that they both bring so much more to the floor than their scoring. Through 15 games as a rookie, Ball is averaging more assists and the same amount of rebounds per game as Kidd did through his first fifteen games. Is this not what the hype around Ball was all about?
Lonzo Ball's slow start for Lakers doesn't warrant any 'bust' talk
Sporting News | Nov 18