Count Stephen Curry among the group of NBA peeps who won’t be giving up on Lonzo Ball just because he’s struggling to leave a dent on the offensive end through the quarterpole of his rookie season.
Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers most recently spoke up in support of the 20-year-old point guard. And now, in advance of the Golden State Warriors’ Wednesday night dance-off with the Los Angeles Lakers, Curry is putting the kibosh on Ball’s detractors.
“He’s a rookie. He’s going through the ups and downs like every rookie has, whether you’re highly touted or not. It’s all a learning experience, trying to find your way and be comfortable. Basically my perception is he’s working through that. I’ve always said he’s a great talent, I think he loves to play basketball, so he’ll be able to fight through that and have a great career. I hope you didn’t judge me off my first 20 games in the league, either.”
Preaching patience on Ball’s trajectory is the reasonable, rational play—hence why it has also become the unpopular one.
Should the Lakers be concerned about his jerky shooting motion, the one that looks like the hate-love child of Joe Ingles’ and Kevin Martin’s mechanics? Should they be concerned that he doesn’t look for his own shot often enough? Should they worry that he’s making iffy passing reads in traffic when his first and second options are taken away?
Let’s tackle all three of these in order: No, no, and no. It’s too early to go down that rabbit hole. Maybe Ball eventually needs to change up his shooting form. But he’s knocked down shots with this motion before; the Lakers need to give it time to see whether he can do it again. And the extra aggression should come, along with some more nuanced on-ball reads. All this stuff tends to take care of itself in time.
Halfway through next year, if Ball still hasn’t flashed any meaningful progress, you’re free to worry your head off. But not now. Not yet.