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Isiah Thomas does not think Lonzo Ball is a bust, sees future star

It’s been over a quarter of the season now, and Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball has still not quite lived up to the expectations that go with being the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. His scoring and shooting struggles, in particular, have been a bit concerning as he averaging just 8.6 points with .321/.246/.471 shooting splits.

But in an appearance on Fox Sports 1’s “First Things First,” Hall-of-Fame point guard Isiah Thomas came to Ball’s defense. Thomas preached patience when it comes to the young point guard and remains bullish on Ball’s star potential.

“I think he’s going to be a star in the slow-making. It’s always difficult to come into Los Angeles and be what Magic Johnson was at 19. That very rarely happens. But where he’s at right now and where he’s progressing, he’s touching every box on the stat sheet. He rebounds, he assists, he’s a great teammate. I’ve never heard any of his teammates complaining about him … His shot will get better, his free-throw shooting will get better, he’ll learn how to score in the NBA. … So, no, he’s not a bust.”

Ball’s ability to shoot and score in the next level was always the big concern for him heading into the draft. Meanwhile, he projected to be adept at doing just about everything else and he has followed through on that evaluation for the most part this season as Thomas points out.

The bright side for Ball is that because he is already so good at other aspects of the game, he can focus most of his energy on fixing his one glaring flaw. And because he is just 20 years old, he deserves the time and the opportunity to still get better.

But given how low Ball’s struggles have gone, it could take some time before Ball improves to the point needed for him to be considered the star Thomas expects.