A great way to tell whether someone actually watched the Los Angeles Lakers last season is how they talk about Lonzo Ball. If they mention how he won’t work with LeBron James because he needs the ball, or if the first words out of their mouth are something having to do with LaVar, then you can probably make an educated guess about how few games of Lonzo’s they watched.
For whatever reason, Lonzo has served as a lightning rod for uninformed takes on his game or, even worse, him as a person. New teammate Michael Beasley was asked about Ball and this phenomenon in a very insightful and informative interview with Leo Sepkowitz of Bleacher Report, and he gave a great answer:
“I’m a big Lonzo fan. I don’t understand how Lonzo gets so much criticism, averaging almost 11 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, a steal and a block per game. Granted, his percentages were low, but you all think Russell Westbrook can shoot, and he’s got the same three-point percentage. (Ed: Lonzo’s was a tick higher last year.) Two years ago, Malcolm Brogdon won Rookie of the Year with 10 points and three rebounds a game, but now Lonzo is 11-7-7 and he’s a bust? I’m a Lonzo fan. I think if you just let him play and not worry about if he can shoot or not, I think you will see a player that knows how and wants to play a complete game of basketball.”
Beasley utilizing the inconsistencies in analyzing Lonzo’s game is a great tactic to highlight how ridiculous the conversation about him can be. As someone who has received a similar treatment, it would make sense that Beasley — also a second overall pick — can relate to Lonzo’s experiences since being drafted.
The entire interview was really good and I’d advise you check that out. In it, Beasley was very open about his time in the NBA, struggles with confidence, Magic Johnson and the Lakers organization and a ton more. Most think of Beasley as a joker, but this was a fascinating look into where his head is currently at.
Since signing with the Lakers, Beasley has made a point to refute some of the narratives about himself and his teammates heading into next season. This interview only continues that trend and, in this case, the points he makes about Lonzo are all on the money. The next step is getting those who analyze Lonzo based on those uninformed narratives to actually watch him play, and then Beasley wouldn’t have to work so hard to dispel false ideas.