Lakers not willing to bench struggling rookie Lonzo Ball

By @saihoops on
Lonzo Ball, Los Angeles Lakers
Oct 19, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball (2) looks on during the second half against the LA Clippers at Staples Center. USA TODAY Sports / Kelvin Kuo

Lonzo Ball, the No. 2 overall pick in this year's NBA Draft, has been labelled as "a bust" by a number of renowned analysts. However, the Los Angeles Lakers don't intend to give up on the hyped rookie.

Lakers coach Luke Walton reiterated Thursday that Ball would continue to serve as the team's starting point guard. "He's our starting point guard. So there's no discussion, no talks as of now of moving Lonzo to the bench. Nah. He's our starting point guard," Walton said after a practice session.

Due to his shooting woes, Ball has sat out the fourth quarter in the Lakers' last two games -- a victory against the Phoenix Suns and a defeat to the Philadelphia 76ers. Jordan Clarkson, posting career-best numbers of 15.8 points per game, has been the team's point guard in clutch situations. 

Walton revealed that Ball came to the Lakers' practice facility late Wednesday to work on his shot after going 1/9 against the Sixers, including 0/6 from three-point range. Ball is currently the worst shooter in the entire NBA, making only .303 of overall field goal attempts and .230 of his three-pointers. The 20-year-old Ball has already admitted that his poor shooting percentage is negatively impacting his game.

Lonzo Ball under pressure to improve shooting

According to Walton, the recent arrest of LiAngelo Ball, Lonzo's younger brother, has weighed heavily on the Lakers point guard. "It's got to. Its family and they're a close family. So obviously growing up together and whatnot, if my younger brother was in China being arrested, that would weigh on me. So again, (it's) speculation. You've got to ask Lonzo; he's the only one who can tell you that. But I would imagine."

Forward Kyle Kuzma, reportedly Lonzo Ball's best friend off the court, believes the guard is doing his best amid high expectations. "Could you walk through his shoes? I'm just saying. Everybody thinks it's easy, but nobody could really walk in his shoes. It is tough. He's in a tough situation, but he is level-headed, even-keeled, comes in and works every day."

Lonzo Ball is averaging 9.0 points, 6.6 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game in his rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers. Ball started the season with a bang, registering 29 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists against the Phoenix Suns on Oct. 20. Since then, Ball has had a string of poor games, except for a triple-double performance of against the Milwaukee Bucks on Nov. 11.