In July, the Los Angeles Lakers theoretically sold their souls to the devil, off-loading the young pieces they had accumulated through the years for a certain superstar named Anthony Davis. Those young pieces were named Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart, and were all drafted by the Lakers during their multiple years of missing the playoffs and being one of the worst teams in the NBA.
Out of those three players drafted (along with Kyle Kuzma and the other young players who have departed the Lakers after being drafted by them), no one has had more pressure on them as Lonzo Ball. This was due in part to Lonzo’s infamous dad, LaVar Ball, who did everything he can to build the hype train for Lonzo. It was also due to former President of Basketball Operations, Magic Johnson, and his hopes to have Lonzo’s jersey hanging in the Staples Centers rafters someday.
Lonzo will definitely have less pressure on him as a new member of the New Orleans Pelicans, but was recently asked to reflect on whether or not there was too much pressure on him in L.A. He had this to say to Shams Charania/The Athletic regarding that pressure:
Nah, nah, that wasn’t too much pressure. That’s what I was supposed to do. No. 2 pick, you’re supposed to do a job — you’re supposed to turn the franchise around. And I don’t think I did it to the best of my abilities. I didn’t live up to that standard. Now I’m here and I’m blessed to be here.
These are two totally different situations. It didn’t go the way we wanted to the first year in L.A., then LeBron (James) came, all the injuries happened and that really messed up the second year.
It’s nice to see Lonzo can step back from the situations of his first and second seasons to see what went wrong and how the negative outcomes weren’t because of him, alone. However, it’s definitely sad to hear him realize how he fell short of expectations. Those expectations of being a number two overall pick really don’t have to be said, as most teams in those situations have had a terrible season to get there, and are wanting to find a quick answer in that spot.
Still though, Lonzo Ball turns 22-years-old later this month, and has plenty of time to develop into a potential NBA All-Star. That still might happen someday, but even then, it’ll be a shame that he wasn’t able to stay around his hometown and become that type of player there.