Los Angeles Lakers: Is It Time for Them to Panic About Lonzo Ball?

Lonzo Ball has received a lot of heat over the last couple of weeks due to a slow start to his rookie season. Currently, he is averaging 8.7 PPG, 6.9 RPG, and 7.0 APG. He is shooting 31 percent from the field and 25 percent from behind the arc. He also ranks No. 24 in Player Efficiency Rating (9.85) among qualified rookies. Is it panic time for Magic Johnson and the front office? Let’s take a look.

Lonzo Ball came into his rookie season with an insane amount of hype

After Lavar Ball’s outlandish claims that Lonzo would lead the Lakers to the playoffs in his first season and that his son is already better than some of the NBA’s prime superstars, everyone has had their eyes glued to No. 2. Fans and critics have come to expect nothing but MVP caliber playing from this rookie.

The truth of the matter is that fans have expected too much out of him

That is why he is getting criticized so much for his “poor performance.” Lonzo has no one to thank but his father for the critics. Lavar simply hyped him up too much. The media has fed into Lavar and made out Lonzo to be something he is not. Heck, SportsCenter was giving recaps of his summer league games! SportsCenter has never focused on one player that much.

 

The Lakers should not be that worried at this point

We are only a quarter of the way into the season, and Lonzo’s numbers are nothing spectacular, but they are not bad either. He has shown spurts of greatness. He has posted triple-doubles against the Milwaukee Bucks and the Denver Nuggets. He also scored 29 points with 11 rebounds and nine assists against the Phoenix Suns. He is second in assists per game and fourth in rebounds per game among rookies, showing that he can share the ball well.

The thing Magic should be worried about is shooting

The low shooting percentage accounts for why his PER is not the best. Lonzo gets a good amount of touches at 10.8 field goal attempts per game. He ranks sixth among rookies in that category, yet there are five other rookies that average more points per game with fewer touches. His 31 percent shooting is something to be expected from the three-point line.

The cause of this is strictly mental

The pressure is getting to him. It is asking too much to be held to such high standards as a rookie. Critics may say his shot needs work, but it is the same shot that he had in high school and college. While it looks unorthodox, it has led to success in the past so there is no reason to change now.

Lonzo just needs to relax and focus on basketball. His father has made it extremely hard for him to do that by running his mouth every night, but it is something he has to live with. Lavar is not going to change because he’s been made famous by saying he can beat Michael Jordan in 1-on-1 and other ignorant remarks. It will be hard, but Lonzo has to get over this mental block, then he will start putting up even better numbers than he did at UCLA. Not many people want Lonzo Ball to succeed, but I am pulling for him.

Freshman at Springfield College majoring in Sports Journalism and minoring in Sports Analytics. Born in Detriot, Michigan but raised in Northern VA. Avid sports fan, especially baseball (Go Yankees!). Feel free to connect with me on social media!