Following the Boston Celtics dismantling the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this week, Kyrie Irving recognized the future which his opponent had in Lonzo Ball.
On Wednesday night, Irving spoke highly of Ball following the Celtics’ 107-96 win over the Lakers, with the All-Star point guard described his rookie counterpart as “unbelievable in transition."
The Boston point guard said, according to Jared Weiss of USA Today: “He’s 6’6, unbelievable in transition. Understand he wants to get his teammates involved...He’s gotta make quick decisions and defensively he’s going to be challenged every night. He wants to go out and compete.”
On the back of another defeat for the Lakers against the Washington Wizards on Thursday night, Ball reacted to the comments made by Irving the day prior, saying, according to Josh Martin of USA Today, that he was very appreciative of the comments.
“It’s very meaningful, especially [from] someone of his caliber,” Ball said, before calling Irving “one of the best players” in the NBA.
“For him to say that about me means a lot."
Ball hasn't had a great start to his NBA career, and his performance against the Wizards on Thursday night didn't help his cause, as he was very ineffective when it came to shooting the ball.
He finished 3-for-12 on field-goal tries, 1-of-7 from 3-point range, and 3-of-7 from the charity stripe. He ended up with a stat line of 10 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists.
Only one other player in NBA history during the shot-clock era has shot more poorly than the 20-year-old in the first 12 game of his career. Hopefully, he is able to use these words of encouragement by Irving and improve his game quickly for the sake of the Lakers this season.
Ball will be looking to start a turnaround in his shooting form when Los Angeles plays against the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, but he won't head to head with Irving and the Celtics again until January 23.