Michael Beasley hits out at Lonzo Ball's critics and compares him to Russell Westbrook

Sacramento Kings v Los Angeles Lakers

Lonzo Ball was arguably the most scrutinised rookie in the NBA last season as he had to deal with a huge amount of pressure coming into his first campaign in the league.

The 20-year-old had a rollercoaster year and had his fair share of struggles which he was heavily criticised for.

Most notably, he shot the ball extremely badly throughout the season as he only connected on 36 percent of his shots from the field and 30 percent from three-point range.

But the point guard did also show flashes of his talent as he was a triple-double threat on many occasions.

With 19 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds in a November loss against the Milwaukee Bucks, Ball became the youngest player in NBA history to notch a triple-double at the time before that record was taken by Markelle Fultz later in the campaign.

Overall, he averaged a solid 10 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in his rookie year.

Expectations

With LeBron James now joining the Lakers, Lonzo will be expected to step his game up and make big strides to help the team win.

But he's received a ringing endorsement from another one of his new teammates for next season, Michael Beasley.

Boston Celtics v New York Knicks

The veteran has a lot of faith in the youngster and has hit out at his critics.

“I’m a big Lonzo fan. I don’t understand how Lonzo gets so much criticism, averaging almost 11 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, a steal and a block per game," he told Leo Sepkowitz of Bleacher Report.

"Granted, his percentages were low, but you all think Russell Westbrook can shoot, and he’s got the same three-point percentage.

"Two years ago, Malcolm Brogdon won Rookie of the Year with 10 points and three rebounds a game, but now Lonzo is 11-7-7 and he’s a bust? I’m a Lonzo fan.

"I think if you just let him play and not worry about if he can shoot or not, I think you will see a player that knows how and wants to play a complete game of basketball.

"Same thing with Kyle Kuzma. I liked him in college but didn’t know how skilled he was until I played against him in the NBA. Josh Hart, same thing.”

Beasley also praised the UCLA product's basketball IQ and said it's similar to fellow new Lakers LeBron and Rajon Rondo.

The latter has already stated that he's willing to help Ball in any way that he can and with these experienced vets now in his corner, it should allow him to develop his game and play with a lot more confidence next season.

CLICK HERE to listen to Episode Two of the new GiveMeSport NBA podcast, featuring New York Times senior writer Marc Stein. Subscribe for all future episodes.

News Now - Sport News