NBA

Lonzo Ball.

Lonzo Ball must forget the hype and deal with his harsh NBA reality

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The hype and anticipation surrounding Lonzo Ball's NBA debut turned into a huge anti-climax as he disappointed in a big loss against the Los Angeles Clippers.

The point guard managed just three points, nine rebounds and four assists in an underwhelming night in front of a sell-out crowd at Staples Center.

The fans turned up to see a glimpse of the future for the Los Angeles Lakers but were far from impressed by what they saw.

Target

A huge reason for Ball's quiet night was down to Clippers guard Patrick Beverley who made it his mission to make the night as uncomfortable as possible for the youngster and he succeeded.

Los Angeles Clippers v Los Angeles Lakers

Head coach Luke Walton already knew what kind of treatment his rookie point guard was in for prior to the game.

“They’re going to come after him,” Luke Walton said on Thursday. “That’s what people in this league do. They come after young players, and when there’s young players a lot of media and a hype around them, they really come after them.”

Come at him is exactly what Beverley did and Lonzo wasn't ready for what he was faced with.

The Clippers man is a pest on defence and has had regular run-ins with the likes of Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry in recent years due to his physical and in-your-face style.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Houston Rockets - Game Five

The All-Defensive veteran was eagerly waiting for his matchup with Ball as he tweeted his father LaVar in September to tell him how much he was looking forward to guarding his son.

According to ESPN Stats and Info, on the 29 plays that Beverley guarded Ball, he went 0-for-2 from the floor and had three assist opportunities.

After the game, the 29-year-old explained why he was so motivated to play against the young Lakers star.

"I just had to set the tone," Beverley said. "I told him after the game that due to all the riffraff his dad brings, that he's going to get a lot of people coming at him. I let him know that after the game. What a better way to start than spending 94 feet guarding him tonight -- welcome the young guy to the NBA."

Reality

The reality that Lonzo must face is that he has a target on his back and he will get the best of every point guard on a nightly basis.

He's unlikely to come up against a pesky defender like Beverley frequently, but others will come at him in different ways and challenge him on both ends of the floor.

As Walton rightly noted, the media attention and hype surrounding the youngster has added extra pressure on him and it will fuel his opponents to get one over on him.

The outlandish comments by his father LaVar may have boosted his profile significantly but have only served to make his rivals more determined to beat him.

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers

The 19-year-old's opening night experience against Beverley should be a humbling one and was a real welcome to the NBA moment. He will surely learn and be better for it in the long run.

The likes of Westbrook, Curry, John Wall and Kyrie Irving are still waiting in the wings and the UCLA product must quickly come out of his shell and accept that he has a bullseye on him and attempt to impose himself more.

How he reacts to those challenges ahead will determine just how good he can become in the future and if he's ready to become the face of the Lakers.

Topics:
L.A. Lakers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
NBA
Kobe Bryant
L.A. Clippers

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