Thursday night, the world saw the long-awaited debut of Lonzo Ball… and it was kind of disappointing. Ball is one of the most hyped up rookies since LeBron James, and with that hype comes great pressure. Among those expecting great things from Ball was none other than Lakers legend and Hall-of-Famer, Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
Before the game, when asked about how Lonzo would handle the pressure, Johnson said “Just like me, when I got here, there was pressure,” Johnson said of Ball’s summer league prowess — two triple-doubles and an MVP award. “I was the No. 1 pick. I didn’t care about that. I am going to play my game. Lonzo is going to play his game. The great ones do.” He also recently said that Lonzo was already at the level of greats like Jason Kidd and himself.
Unfortunately, the hype did not translate into the season opener against the Los Angeles Clippers. In 29 minutes, Ball put up 3 points on 1/6 shooting as well as 4 assists and 9 rebounds. Although that may not look great on the surface, it’s not time to panic. Ball was up against one of the top defenders in the league in Patrick Beverly, and after all, it was his first game in the NBA. If his summer league performance has any indication of how the season will go, expect big things from the rookie.