The Lakers are 2-4 and thus far have one of the worst offenses in the NBA.
Blame Lonzo Ball.
At least that’s what he says.
“That is how I was brought up; I am not going to change. … It is a team game, we all play for each other; obviously we win and lose as a team, but I like to take the blame when we lose,” Ball told reporters Monday (via the Los Angeles Times).
That kind of willingness to shoulder responsibility is something Ball said he learned from his father, LaVar, but also from his childhood idol, LeBron James, who frequently holds himself accountable when his team struggles.
“He still plays the same way to the day,” Ball said of James. “He always takes it.”
It’s been a rough two-game stretch for the Lakers and Ball, in particular. In losses Friday to the Raptors and Saturday to the Jazz, Ball didn’t hit double figures in scoring and registered nearly as many turnovers as assists. So far this season he’s averaging 10.0 points, 7.7 assists and 7.5 rebounds per game.
Still, coach Luke Walton isn’t going to let his rookie take the blame alone.
“It’s not his fault we lost. … I love that he wants to take responsibility for it, that’s what leaders do, they put it on their back, but it’s not on him that we lost,” Walton said Monday.
The Times notes that leadership is something the Lakers thought former point guard D’Angelo Russell lacked, one reason they traded him to the Nets just before the draft in which L.A. made Ball the No. 2 overall pick. Soon afterward, team president Magic Johnson complimented Russell as a player but said, “I needed a leader.”