Lakers news: Luke Walton told Lonzo Ball he'd be 'one of the best point guards' in the NBA
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Lakers’ Luke Walton told Lonzo Ball he’d be ‘one of the best point guards’ in the NBA

Luke Walton and Lonzo Ball

On Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers put up quite a fight against the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors forcing Stephen Curry and company into overtime at the Staples Center.

Unfortunately, Luke Walton’s squad was unable to come out on top with Curry kicking it into another gear scoring 13 of his 28 points in overtime. Although Brandon Ingram stayed hot in the final five minutes of the game with six of his career-high 32 points, it simply wasn’t enough for the Lakers to get the best of the visiting Warriors.

Along with Ingram having the best scoring performance of his NBA career, Lonzo Ball also made an impact with a double-double. The rookie point guard dished out 10 assists to go along with his 15 points.

Luke Walton and Lonzo Ball

Following the loss to the Warriors, Walton had high praise for his players battling against arguably the best team in the NBA and admitted he told Ball that the 20-year-old would eventually be among the league’s elite at his position.

“Well he’s been shooting the lights out at practice the last week or so, and I told him before the game,” Walton said of Ball. “I said, ‘Zo, you’re going to be one of the best point guards in this league, you are. Embrace this challenge if you’re open and it’s in rhythm.’ I thought most of them tonight were in rhythm.

“One maybe two where he kind off…they went under…he hadn’t dribbled, and he just shot it. Those are ones we don’t want, but any other three, if it’s in rhythm and he’s got a bounce to it, let it fly. I think when he saw that one go in, it built some confidence. Those are shots we want him taking; we need him taking. It was nice to see, obviously, multiple threes go in for him in the game, but he’s been shooting like that and putting the work in after practice, so it didn’t surprise me. I was just happy for him.”

Ball’s rookie campaign has already gone through a lot of ups and downs. On some nights, Lonzo looks like the team’s next superstar and the point guard of the future in Los Angeles. Other nights, he’s mediocre with poor shooting overshadowing any positive impact he brings to the floor for the Lakers.

Against the Warriors, Ball showed a lot of grit as he was a feisty defender as well as the distributor the team has needed. Lonzo also had the best shooting night he’s had in awhile going 3-for-7 from deep and 5-for-12 from the floor. Although not ideal in the shooting department, it’s an improvement as the rookie continues to figure out how to transcend his game on the next level this season.

After 21 games played, Ball is averaging 9.0 points, 7.2 assists, and 7.0 rebounds per game with a field-goal percentage of 31.5 and 25.7 percent from three-point territory.