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Lonzo Ball .

Luke Walton explains why he never considered removing Lonzo Ball as a starter

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In his rookie season so far, Lonzo Ball has had his fair share of ups and downs with the Los Angeles Lakers.

His highs include two triple-doubles which have seen him become the youngest to achieve the feat in NBA history and the only Lakers rookie to post multiple in his rookie campaign other than Magic Johnson. 

Ball's shooting struggles have definitely been his lows this year as he's only hitting 31.5 percent from the field and 25.0 percent from the three-point line.

But for all the criticism he's received, it's important to remember that he only recently turned 20 and has only played 19 games.

During a horrible stretch earlier in the month, there were calls for head coach Luke Walton to relegate Lonzo to the bench. 

That's not a decision that crossed Walton's mind, however, and he explained that it's all a learning curve for the youngster as he goes up against the league's best point guards in arguably the toughest and most talented position today. 

Los Angeles Lakers v Phoenix Suns

“The benefit is he gets the game experience,” coach Walton said, per the Los Angeles Times. “Whether it’s close games, it’s blowouts, it’s playing against top elite point guards that do different things.

"John Wall, as good as it gets at getting to the rim, a [Russell] Westbrook, a Steph Curry. So he gets all that in-game experience on the go and gets to learn from it all.”

Any point guard would find it difficult playing against this level of elite competition on a nightly basis as the NBA is currently enjoying its best generation of players at that position. 

Los Angeles Lakers v Boston Celtics

Ball certainly has the talent to put himself in that bracket at some point in his career and has shown flashes in the early stages of the year. 

These experiences will only make the UCLA product a better player and that is what Walton is hoping to see as he has given him major minutes this season.

“He’s handling it well so I think this way is working for him because I think it’s going to accelerate his timetable as far as taking steps in his own personal game, but it’s got its give and take,” he said.

Chicago Bulls v Los Angeles Lakers

His efficiency and shooting may be an issue but he has had a big impact on the Lakers in other areas. Ball is a pass-first guard and his vision and playmaking ability has been an important asset for the team as he's averaging 7.1 assists per game. 

With Los Angeles facing the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets in the coming week, the youngster will come up against Curry and Chris Paul in two of the toughest matchups he will encounter all year. 

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

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