Even before Lonzo Ball was selected as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, his outspoken father, LaVar Ball, has already made his own name in the league. The older Ball became popular with his antics and served as one of the major distractions for the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2017-18 NBA season.
However, LaVar Ball has somewhat turned quiet when the Lakers signed the best basketball player on the planet, LeBron James, in the recent free agency. In a recent interview with TMZ Sports, Ball admitted that he and James tried to stay away from each other’s way. Ball said that he has no relationship with James and denied any bad blood existing between the two of them.
“I really don’t have a relationship with LeBron,” Ball said.
“I like it. He ain’t done nothing bad to me, I ain’t done nothing bad to him. So, as long as we good, we’ll be all right.”
Though LeBron James is currently safe from LaVar Ball, Lakers Head Coach Luke Walton remains as one of the top targets of criticisms. After the Lakers had a slow start in the 2018-19 NBA season, Ball blamed Walton and expressed his desire to replace him as head coach. The Lakers have performed better since their controversial meeting with Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson, but Ball believes Walton’s future in Los Angeles is still uncertain and depends on how he uses his son Lonzo.
“If he keep playing Lonzo a lot — over 35 minutes — he’ll stick around,” Ball said. “Less, he won’t.”
Lonzo Ball started the 2018-19 NBA season coming off the bench. But when Rajon Rondo earned a suspension after being involved in a brawl with Houston Rockets superstar Chris Paul, Ball got the opportunity to prove that he still deserves the starting role. Even though Rondo has already returned, Lakers Head Coach Luke Walton kept Ball in their starting lineup.
However, it remains unknown if Coach Luke Walton can grant LaVar’s request and play Lonzo Ball 35 minutes per game. Even the best player on the team, LeBron James, is only averaging 34.6 minutes per game. Walton is definitely aware of the criticisms thrown against him when it comes on how he used Ball, especially in crucial situations. Ball may not be a prolific scorer, but his passing ability and defensive skills are undeniably outstanding.
Walton and the Lakers coaching staff have noticed the huge improvement on Lonzo Ball’s performance, but as of now, they haven’t given any indication if the young guard will have an increase in playing time. The Lakers’ next game will be against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night at Staples Center.