Before the Los Angeles Lakers drafted Lonzo Ball, one of the primary concerns fans had about the Big Baller Dad was whether or not his act of hyping up his son and criticizing other players would wear thin around the league. It appears his comments about San Antonio Spurs star (and rumored Lakers trade target) Kawhi Leonard are about to put that idea to the test.
As a quick refresher, Leonard is an NBA Finals MVP and widely was considered one of the best players in the league before he spent the majority of the Spurs’ season nursing a nagging quad injury.
He still probably is one of the best players in the NBA, but according to LaVar, he’s still not as good as Lonzo. LaVar was asked which player was better during an appearance on ESPN LA’s “Best of Los Angeles” and he didn’t hold back (as transcribed by Jeff Garcia of Spurs Zone):
“Stop it! … Hell no. Lonzo, I’m gonna tell you what he does, makes everyone on the team better. Who don’t want to start a team with that? You put Kawhi on there, he won’t make everyone better. He’s gonna do his thing. He’s a specialty guy.”
Lonzo did do an impressive job of making his teammates better during his rookie season with the Lakers, especially when considering that it usually takes first-year players longer than that to make an impact.
He still isn’t anywhere near as good as Leonard (if healthy), at least not yet. I could show you how much better Leonard’s career numbers are or list their resumes, but that would be almost as much of a waste of your time as reading this sentence. Instead, I’ll give you this chart that argues the opposite, because it at least adds more humor to this discussion:
As amusing as that chart is, the fact is that Leonard is a perennial MVP candidate who has already proven he can be the best player on an NBA Finals team, and Lonzo is a promising rookie.
Lonzo could get there someday, and there is an argument to be made that he shouldn’t be included in a deal for Leonard because of factors like his upside, Leonard’s injury history and Lonzo’s cheap contract, but there isn’t a reasonable person out there that would suggest he’s already better than Leonard.
Which is where LaVar comes in. As usual.
All stats per NBA.com and Basketball-Reference.com. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen, or support his work via Venmo here or Patreon here.