Kevin Durant impressed by Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball

By @saihoops on
Lonzo Ball
Nov 3, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball (2) drives against Brooklyn Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (24) in the second quarter at Staples Center. USA TODAY Sports / Richard Mackson

Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant is impressed by Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball. Although Ball has faced scathing criticism for his inconsistent performances, Durant, the reigning NBA Finals MVP and NBA champion, is a fan of how the young Laker controls the point guard position.

On his YouTube channel, the former league MVP fielded a handful of questions from fans and mentioned Ball among the rookies that are playing well this season. “I like OG Anunoby from Toronto. He plays hard, he can shoot it, rebounds well. I like Lonzo Ball, I like how he’s playing the point guard position. Jayson Tatum is playing well in Boston. He’s playing like a seasoned vet. You’ve got De’Aaron Fox hitting game-winners.

"Ben Simmons, I don’t even know if you want to call him a rookie since he’s around the league for a year already, but this is his first NBA action and he’s playing phenomenal basketball. There’s so many good rookies out there," said Durant, while also showering praise on Philadelphia 76ers rookie Ben Simmons.

Lonzo Ball struggles, but Lakers won’t bench him

Though several analysts have pointed out that Ball isn't ready for NBA basketball, the Los Angeles Lakers remain adamant that the rookie point guard will remain in the starting unit. 

“The benefit is he gets the game experience. Whether it’s close games, its blowouts, it’s playing against top elite point guards that do different things. John Wall, as good as it gets at getting to the rim, a (Russell) Westbrook, a Steph Curry. So he gets all that in-game experience on the go and gets to learn from it all," Lakers coach Luke Walton said earlier in the week, via The Los Angeles Times

Ball is shooting a league-low 31 percent from the floor and 25 percent from the three-point range. Despite his persisting shooting woes, Walton believes Ball is progressing quickly. 

“Being a rookie you usually have more time to adjust to NBA life. You get little opportunities here and there, and you grow from those. You have vets that kind of take you under their wing and show you how it’s done at this level and it’s more of a patient process,” Walton said.

“He’s handling it well so I think this way is working for him because I think it’s going to accelerate his timetable as far as taking steps in his own personal game, but it’s got its give and take.”

Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors will get their first look of Lonzo Ball when they travel to the Staples Center on Wednesday. Ball and the Lakers are currently seeded ninth in the Western Conference with an 8-11 record.