Over the weekend, everyone’s favorite NBA dad LaVar Ball made headlines when he criticized Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton.
"You can see they're not playing for Luke no more," Ball told Jeff Goodman of ESPN. "Luke doesn't have control of the team no more. They don't want to play for him."
"That's a good team," he added. "Nobody wants to play for him. I can see it. No high-fives when they come out of the game. People don't know why they're in the game. He's too young. He's too young. ... He ain't connecting with them anymore. You can look at every player, he's not connecting with not one player.”
The Lakers are 1-9 over their last 10 games and the young team has struggled mightily over recent weeks. The elder Ball attributed blame for some of the losses on Walton’s refusal to play his son Lonzo heavy minutes.
"Lonzo looked good, but he also looked disgusted," Ball said after a recent game. "He was ready to play. Four minutes left in the first quarter, he dunked it, getting in a flow and Coach sits him down. Sat him down. Now game goes from four points to 10 to 15 to 20. I don't know what they're doing. If he's ready to play, let him play. Don't try and monitor no minutes, put on restrictions.”
After a number of NBA coaches stepped up to defend Walton, Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma, a close friend of Lonzo, also voiced his support.
"I don't think that's the case," Kuzma said Monday, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. "When you lose games, at the end of the day Luke isn't the one going out and shooting 2-for-15, turning the ball over, having turnovers or missing free throws. That's us. Can't blame the coaching staff for everything. It's mutual, of course. Players mess up, coaches mess up. We as a team have to be more accountable."
"It's just a lot of white noise, in a sense," added Kuzma. "Luke is my guy. I love playing for him. I'm sure most of us love playing for him too. ... We stand by Luke. I know the front office does."
Kuzma went into further detail, explaining how he believes that LaVar’s comments were blown up by the social media-driven society that we live in today.
"In our society, social media's so big in our lives," Kuzma noted. "It's all over the place. ESPN puts out anything for clicks now, it kind of seems like. You can't really hide from it; it's just a thing that you have to deal with and just move past it. No other generation of NBA players has to deal with what we have to deal with in our era."
"We just gotta stay locked in as a family and listen to the people that really matter in our lives, basketball lives," he continued. "That's everybody in this organization. A lot of times you have losing streaks, you can go home and listen to people and let them be in your ears, but the people that really matter are the people in the Lakers organization."News Now - Sport News