Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka loves to tell stories and get poetic over the subjects he talks about. Explaining why he believes Lonzo Ball is transcendent happens to be one of his favorite topics to go through a verbal gymnastics routine about.
Pelinka cut to the chase in his first post-draft interview after selecting Ball, comparing Ball’s vision and impact to that of quarterbacks Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. Pelinka, who sat down for a 20-minute interview for Spectrum SportsNet’s Connected With... series last week, was back at it again.
This time, he went outside of the sporting world to find a comparison to just how transcendent he thinks Lonzo is.
“The first thing I said about Lonzo, I said he’s a transcendent talent. What I meant by that is his performance transcends just the box score. You can’t just look at his shooting percentage, or you can’t just look at the number of points he’s scoring, to asses his impact on our team.
“I liken it to – he’s such a transcendent talent – you look at great visionaries like Steve Jobs with Apple, or you look at Bill Gates with Microsoft. If you went and pulled Steve Jobs’ college transcript at Reed College where he went, or you look at Bill Gates’ college transcript at Harvard, it would show someone that may have struggled and that dropped out,” Pelinka said.
Jobs... Gates... Ball. The legacies left behind, indeed.
“Those great visionaries have a way of having an impact beyond how most people get judged, and I think Lonzo’s like that. To experience his impact on the Lakers you really have to go to a game and you have to see just the way he leads our team. The way he defends and disrupts passes, and rebounds and pushes pace.
“We’ve just been thrilled with the impact he’s had on our team, and we know the growth is going to continue and we’re just still ecstatic about Lonzo Ball,” he said, rounding out the latest of many Pelink-isms.
Since we’re on the subject of Lonzo, Rob also explained why he’s not overly-concerned with Ball’s shooting mechanics.
“I was taught that the keys to shooting relate to the arc on a ball, the rotation and backspin that a ball has, and then the shot release, the follow through. I think if you really break down Lonzo’s shot, his release point he has great follow through, he has really good arch on his shot, and the backspin on his ball is really good and true,” he said.
Scoring points isn’t what Pelinka thinks about when he thinks about Lonzo’s greatest strength, though. He believes Ball’s selfless style of play will help attract the kind of free agents they have their eyes on, while bringing out the best of the teammates currently around him.
“I think the point guard position in this league is so key, and I think Lonzo’s going to be a point guard that other players, both our own and from other teams when they’re make their free agency decisions, are going to want to play with.
“His impact, he’s a giving-natured kid, he really is, and players want to play with him. This is an era with points guards that just score, score, score, and I think the art of point guards who get others involved... History always goes in cycles, and I think that’s going to come back, and I think his greatest impact will be told when we surround him with all the right talent that we’re going to,” Pelinka said.
Pelinka sold his vision of Lonzo leading the way for the Lakers to fans tuned in, but he’ll have to do that again this summer as the franchise hopes to convince at least one star to be part of the “right talent” around Ball.
To watch the full 20-minute interview with Pelinka, head over to Spectrum SportsNet.