Leave it to LaVar Ball to put a positive spin on a performance that his gifted son Lonzo was ready to consign to the trash heap as soon as possible after his NBA Summer League debut Friday night with the Lakers.
Lonzo had a terrible shooting night — two for 15, including one for 11 from three-point range — in the Lakers’ 96-93 overtime loss to the Clippers at Thomas & Mack Center. He displayed great chemistry with Brandon Ingram, feeding Ingram an alley-oop pass for the first points of the game and collecting five assists in nearly 33 minutes, but the defeat turned a momentous occasion into a sour memory for him. And he was more than willing to accept personal responsibility for the defeat, pushing aside suggestions that he might have been nervous in his first game that wasn’t an intrasquad exercise.
“I could have gotten in the middle a lot more but they were sagging,” he said, speaking in short sentences, as usual. “It’s on me. I missed a lot of shots. It’s my fault…. I always play to win. We didn’t get that win tonight.”
But his talkative father, who was warmly greeted by the large and heavily pro-Lakers crowd as he took his place in a security-guarded box with other family members, quickly turned a loss into a potential gain by positioning it as a good learning experience for his son.
“I’d rather him have a game like this than him score 20, 20, 20 and win by 30,” LaVar Ball said. “So now you know how to lose. This is easy. This is better for my boy than scoring 30 points and everybody making all the shots. If this is the worst he could do? And the culture is winning. Pass the ball around. They lost by three or four points playing his first game ever. So if he’s just all right, they win.”
Lonzo said he was sorry for playing so poorly in front of his family Friday night. To his father, at least, no apology was necessary.
“He won’t be discouraged,” LaVar said. “This is the worst you can do. You can only go up, and you still keep your team in the game playing your worst game ever. That’s what I like about this idea. He took the shots. They didn’t go in. but he took them.
“It’s better for him to start at the bottom than have all this success at the stop and then you’re going to expect it the whole season. He’s going to grow.”
Lonzo seemed to like his father’s reasoning. “Yeah, the only way I can go now is up,” he said.Read More...
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