Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball talks about the pressure of playing in Los Angeles
Lonzo Ball’s NBA debut with the Los Angeles Lakers is officially in the books. The 19-year-old rookie phenom took the floor at the Staples Center on Thursday night against the L.A. Clippers, but the end result wasn’t exactly what he or his fans were hoping for with Patrick Beverley getting the better of him.
Ball finished with only three points to go along with nine rebounds and four assists as the Lakers were crushed by their division rivals, 108-92. Following his debut, Ball spoke to the media and talked about a number of things including how he deals with the pressure of living up to the hype.
“That’s what happens when you play in L.A,” Ball said. “Everybody expects you to do well and if you don’t, they’ll get somebody to do it. Obviously, tonight wasn’t the way we wanted to come out, wasn’t how we wanted to finish, but the good thing about the NBA is we have 81 more. We’re 0-1. It’s only one loss. Tomorrow we can bounce back.”
Head coach Luke Walton also talked about Ball’s debut after the game. Walton was by no means raving about his rookie point guard, but he believes he it was a decent performance by the UCLA product.
“I thought he was good,” Walton said of Ball’s debut. “The way he plays the game is such a feel thing for him, that I think he was out there feeling it out. A couple of times out there when the game sped up, and he was able to just come off drags, we really saw some of the things he’s going to be capable of doing. I think he likes to take his time and not force things, which is good. That’s part of what becoming a player in this league is about; when to get your teammates involved, recognizing, ‘Alright, we’re stalling out, let me get aggressive to score now,’ so there are all the things he’ll get better at. Overall, it was a decent game for him.”
On Friday, Ball will have an opportunity for redemption as the Lakers go on the road to face the Phoenix Suns. Devin Booker and company are coming off a devastating defeat to the Portland Trail Blazers in which they were beaten by 48 points.
If Ball ever had a chance to bounce back quickly, it’ll be tonight against a team that could end being the worst in the league when it is all said and done.