- Lonzo Ball has been struggling with his shot in the NBA and has sat on the bench late in some games.
- LaVar Ball, who had previously said he would not intervene with the Los Angeles Lakers’ coaching of Lonzo, said the team is “babying” Lonzo and not coaching him properly.
- While LaVar did not specifically criticize Luke Walton, it can’t be a welcomed development for Lakers coaches.
Amid the ongoing feud between LaVar Ball and President Donald Trump, a concern has risen for the Los Angeles Lakers: when LaVar isn’t going back at Trump, he’s criticizing the Lakers’ coaching.
When the Lakers took LaVar’s son Lonzo Ball with the second pick in the draft, it came after LaVar told Lakers president Magic Johnson that he would be hands-off with the team and his son.
“He said, ‘Earvin, look, I’m not following my son. I’m not going to be hanging out in L.A. I’m going to be training these young kids [his other sons],'” Johnson told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.
LaVar said he told Johnson, “‘As far as training my boy, this is as far as I can take him. I’ll leave it up to you to take him further.'”
However, as Lonzo has struggled mightily with his shot and consistency in the NBA, at times sitting out late in games, LaVar has grown impatient with Lakers coach Luke Walton. LaVar told Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus that the Lakers are “soft” on Lonzo.
“He’s been away from me too long. I see tendencies in his game – they’re trying to baby him a little bit … They’re soft. They don’t know how to coach my son. I know how to coach him. I tell him to go get the victory. Stop messing around.”
Asked if he had a problem with Walton, LaVar told Pincus, “No, I have a problem with losing.”
The Lakers are 8-10 and Lonzo has shot just 30.8% from the field, 23% from three while averaging 8.9 points per game. While he leads the team in assists and has contributed in rebounding, Ball’s shooting woes have been cause for concern in LA. Compared to LaVar, however, Walton has taken the calm route, saying every game is a learning experience.
LaVar criticized that mentality:
“What I mean by babying [Lonzo], ‘He’ll figure it out.’ It ain’t about that. ‘Be patient with him?’ Ain’t no patience if you’re winning.”
“They’re letting it go too easy, saying they’re a young team. Forget about that! Put the [onus] on them. Say, ‘You guys need to win. You’ve got enough talent. Win some games.'”
The Lakers can’t be thrilled with this development, and it can’t make things any easier on Lonzo, who now has two prominent voices in his ears telling him different things.
Intervening sports parents are nothing new, but few command the media attention and hype as LaVar – who, again, is in a spat with the president. LaVar’s boisterous and overbearing style has already drawn other players to go after Lonzo and play harder than usual.
Walton is preaching patience, but it may be worth watching how he handles critiques from the outside, especially from someone who said they would lay off.