Lonzo Ball.

Kobe Bryant says Lonzo Ball "needs to get better now"

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Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball has had an up and down start to life in the NBA and is scrutinized with every performance.

Since LeBron James entered the league in 2003, arguably no first-year player has had as much attention as Ball.

He has received an almost unprecedented amount of coverage this year, thanks largely to his father LaVar Ball.

After being drafted with the number two overall pick by his hometown Lakers, there was a huge deal of expectation from the team's fans for Lonzo to be their next superstar.

But at just 19, this is a huge amount of pressure for him to deal with and it has almost been a burden on him for much of the campaign as he has struggled to find consistency in his game.

He has found it particularly difficult shooting the ball as he's averaging just 32.1 percent from the field and 24.6 percent from three-point range.

Despite the problems with his shot, the young point guard has done well in other areas, especially in the playmaking department as he's posting 7.1 assists a night.

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The 20-year-old has also shown himself to be a valuable rebounder as he's averaging 6.8 boards.

Ball has already posted two triple-doubles this season becoming the only other rookie besides Magic Johnson to put up multiple in his first year for the Lakers.

One player who is familiar with the pressure that the UCLA product is going through is franchise legend, Kobe Bryant.

He knows a thing or two about what it takes to be successful for the Purple and Gold after spending two decades with the team and discussed what Lonzo and all the Lakers youngsters need to do during an interview with Spectrum SportsNet.

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“He [Lonzo Ball] needs to get better now,” Bryant said. "[Kyle] Kuzma, better now. [Julius] Randle, better now. Players, you want that now."

The Black Mamba compared the current crop of players to the team he joined in the late-90s when he was a youngster straight out of high school.

“We never thought, ‘OK, we’re going to win four years from now. We really thought this is our year. We’re going to get this done. We’re going to push, push, push, push, push to get better now.’

"And in the process of having that impatience, you develop. If you’re just patiently going about it, you’ll never get there. For players, it’s kind of patient impatience.”

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But the five-time champion offered a realistic expectation of this young Lakers group and insists it's a process that will take time but will bear fruit.

"This team here is not a contending team. They haven't won anything. ... So patience has to be required. That day will come. These young players will grow, and then everybody will look up and marvel at the amount of talent that we have."

With some immediately interpreting this as a criticism of Ball and his teammates, Kobe soon took to Twitter to clarify his comments and reinforced that he was offering words of support and encouragement.

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Kobe Bryant
L.A. Lakers
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Brandon Ingram

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