Challenging a player’s toughness is about the most insulting thing anyone can do, but that’s what ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith did to new Chicago Bulls point guard Lonzo Ball. During a recent episode of First Take, Smith downplayed many of the Bulls’ recent offseason moves and went in specifically on Ball.
As usual, no punches were pulled as Smith downgraded Ball’s potential to positively impact the Bulls, and to push him past his hometown New York Knicks.
Here is what Smith said:
Let me say this last thing about Lonzo Ball. I’m a say it to y’all again. Yes, he averaged 14 points this year; Yes, he shot 37% from three-point range this year. All of that is true, but I’m telling you right now, I still see a dude that’s incremental, he ain’t going south, he’s going up; and I give him props for that. I like him, and I like his family, y’all know that. All I’m saying to you is that, that level of aggression that a lot of people are attaching to Lonzo Ball thinking he’s going to be this…I think that’s in you, you either got that or you don’t. And I can see him not being that guy. Yeah, he’s going to be what he is, but I’m telling you right now, I think the Knicks are going to have a better season than Chicago.
There is a lot to unpack. Smith couldn’t have been much more insulting to Chicago’s moves. Many believe the Bulls have had one of the more successful offseasons.