The Golden State Warriors make a trip down the coast to visit the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday, but the talk around the Bay Area was already focused on the purple and gold during shootaround Tuesday. Both Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry had some thoughts to share about Lonzo Ball ahead of their matchup, with media itching to ask for thoughts on the polarizing No. 2 pick.
Durant, who admitted he’s been keeping a closer eye on the Lakers since Luke Walton became head coach, thinks Lonzo’s struggles are to be expected for a first-year guard.
“Lonzo is just playing like a rookie as far as learning the game, finding the ins-and-outs of the game slowing down for him, picking and choosing his spots. He's still figuring it out.
“What is he, 19? That's what any 19-year-old would go through in the pros, so that's just a matter of him being in LA. So much eyes and scrutiny on him. He's playing like he should play as far as learning the game and adjusting,” Durant said.
The Lakers and Ball will be coming off an ugly loss to the LA Clippers. Making matters worse, Lonzo scored just three points and was one-of-seven from the field. Ball is averaging 7.8 points, 7.2 assists and 7.3 rebounds per game through the month of November. His 29.4 percent shooting percentage, and even-worse 22.2 percent three-point shooting percentage, have become a glaring issue on the court.
Curry doesn’t subscribe to the theory that Ball needs to re-tool his mechanics, though.
"He's not the first person that the peanut gallery kind of wants to chime in and tell people how to play the game” Curry said. “At the end of the day, he's made shots shooting like that before. I'm pretty sure he can figure iot out what that means in an NBA game. That's for him to decide"
Meanwhile in Los Angeles, Lonzo was crowning Chef Curry as the greatest shooter of all-time:
Lonzo Ball is a big fan of @StephenCurry30’s game, as he said ahead of Lakers-Warriors tomorrow. “In my opinion he’s the best shooter of all time.”— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) November 28, 2017
It’s never a bad day when the player you herald as the most dangerous perimeter threat ever comes to your defense, which Steph certainly did.
“He's a rookie, he's going through the ups and downs like every rookie has. Whether you're highly talented or not, it's all a learning experience in trying to find your way and be comfortable.
“My perception is he's working through that, I've always said I know he's a great talent. I think he loves to play basketball, so he'll be able to fight through all that and have a great career, but I hope you didn't judge me on my first 20 games in the league either,” Curry said.
Shouts to Matt Moore for being all over this quote and doing the leg work:
First 20 games, Curry:— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) November 28, 2017
First 20 games, Ball:
Usage: 18% https://t.co/0DHhcJHOni
And with that, we wait to see if Durant and Curry play Wednesday in Los Angeles. Both are considered questionable, which would be a huge break for the Lakers who face the Warriors a whopping three times in December.