Lakers to Sign Gary Payton II

Gary Payton II

Payton II is expected to play back-up to a still questionable Lonzo Ball

In any basketball league, if a player is blessed enough to have a son who will inherit his father’s undying passion towards the game of basketball, chances are that boy is already destined to make a loud noise when he steps into the big league and we have seen it happen in the PBA. For starters, we have Kiefer Ravena, the famous son of Bong Ravena. We also have the Teng Brothers of Jeric and Jeron, sons of known PBA defensive specialist, Alvin Teng. Internationally, we also have Kobe Paras, the son of the only Rookie MVP, so far in the history of the PBA, Benjie Paras.
While having a basketball-famous name can be beneficial, it’s not always the case, especially in the NBA. Take a look at the case of Gary Payton II, son of 1-time NBA champion and Hall of Famer, Gary Payton. Payton II wasn’t selected by any team during the 2016 Draft and only got a deal with the Houston Rockets after the latter decided to sign Payton II as a free agent. He then played a grand total of 18 games over the course of the last two seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks before the Bucks released him last December.
Ever since Payton II was released, several teams were rumored to be interested in acquiring him and among those teams is none other than the Los Angeles Lakers, one of the teams which his legendary father has played for during his decorated career. And now, the word has it that the Lakers are set to sign Gary Payton II in a two-way contract which means he will be playing extended minutes for both the Lakers and their G-League affiliate, South Bay.
This could be a welcome development for the Lakers who are riding on their 4-game winning despite missing Lonzo Ball due to soreness in his left knee and is currently listed as questionable for their next game.

Conclusion

With their prized and hyped rookie questionable, the Lakers are hoping that the arrival of Gary Payton II will provide a more balanced attack from the point guard position because signing someone like Gary Payton II means that the Lakers want more point guards to back-up Lonzo Ball aside from Tyler Ennis and Alex Caruso. 
Question: Is this a great deal for the Lakers? It will be seen once Payton II hits the floor for the Purple and Gold. 

Russell Westbrook: Winning the Championship is the Best Way to Keep Paul George

Paul George to the Lakers

All throughout the first three months of the 2017-2018 season, this has been the storyline involving Paul George who was surprisingly traded by the Indiana Pacers to the Oklahoma City Thunder during the off-season. While playing alongside reigning MVP, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony seems to be a good position for PG13,  the trade rumors won’t simply die especially after the Thunder’s 6-game winning streak got snapped and just like that, they are on a 2-game slide heading into their match-up against none other than the Los Angeles Lakers- the potential next destination of Paul George. 
Despite their struggles, the Thunder have improved to 20-17 in the season which puts them in 5th place in the Western Conference. Yes, this is the same team which used to sit at the near bottom of the standings in the West during the early moments of the season and they are now becoming the team that they are supposed to be: a super team, right?  However, despite coming into the game against the Lakers winning 7 of their last 10 games, their success won’t cut the rumors out.
According to Russell Westbrook, there’s one simple way for the Thunder to make sure that Paul George stays even after this season: win the NBA championship this season. And he isn’t wrong in that part. Assuming that Paul George won’t be traded this season,  improving the team in time for the playoffs must be the top priority for the Thunder because Russel Westbrook has said that he won’t be making any sales pitch to lure Paul George to stay in Oklahoma. 
Fortunately for the Thunder, Paul George is focused on winning games for Oklahoma, for now. He indicated that he didn’t have any regret in saying that he desired to play or his home city, Los Angeles but he is also grateful for the opportunity to play alongside talented guys like Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook- adding that they have the potential firepower to challenge for a championship. Well, Paul George isn’t wrong in that part either. 

Conclusion

The Thunder should easily win against the Lakers because Lonzo Ball is still out and the Lakers are still losing it, again. But, can the Thunder actually dethrone the Golden State Warriors should both squads meet in the Western Conference Finals? Firepower-wise, both squads are equal. Chemistry-wise? The Warriors have the edge. 
Question: Will the Thunder be able to keep PG13 ?
Prediction: Paul George will be wearing the Purple and Gold. The only question is WHEN.

NBA in 2018: Questions that Need Answers

Lebron James i the NBA 2018

After a stunning pre-season which rocked the season, there are things that we are looking forward to in 2018

While there’s no question that this year’s pre-season was one of the wildest in recent memory due to the various super teams that were assembled plus the arrival of some of the promising rookies, 2018 should present the answers to the questions most of us asked prior to the start of the regular season and below are just some of the questions:

  1. Will Golden State repeat as champions?
    This is probably the most obvious question everyone asked after the Warriors successfully reclaimed the NBA championship from the Cleveland Cavaliers. With the super-trio of Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson still intact to this point in time, many were predicting another dominant season for the Warriors. However, numerous injuries have hit the Warriors during the first two months of the season and the fact that the Houston Rockets have started the season on fire had many questioning the Warriors’ dominance. In fact, many fans are now saying that this is the weakest the Warriors have become over the course of the 3 seasons. Sure, they are back atop the Western Conference but can they repeat as champions? That’s a different story, folks.  
  2. Will OKC make it work?
    One of the stories that rocked the NBA the most was when the Oklahoma City Thunder assembled an on-paper mighty super trio of Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George after getting the latter two from separate trades. On paper, this trio can almost beat any super team but the problem is, they haven’t been the team they are meant to be. Until now. Heading into their first game of 2018, the Thunder have won 8 of their last 10 games with a 20-16 record which puts them in 5th place in the West. While the Thunder have been better than they were in November, can they actually keep only winning and make a championship team out of this? We’ll be watching, OKC.
  3. Will Lonzo Ball become the best rookie in history?
    Lonzo Ball was one of the most-hyped rookies in history ever since LeBron James’ pre-draft days. After being drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers as the number two pick, many fans began saying that Lonzo Ball will bring the Lakers back to the Finals. As this point in time, this pundit on wheels is very much disappointed with Lonzo Ball’s performance because he is being outplayed by his own teammate, Kyle Kuzma, who is the 27thy pick in the 2017 Draft. Lonzo is still clanking most of his shots, especially from the three-point line. Will he improve? The season’s still long so there’s still plenty of time. Rookie of the Year material? Nope. 
  4. Where will LeBron James take his talents next?
    This is probably one of the most nagging questions this year even before the start of the season. There were many speculations as to where His Majesty will establish his new kingdom come July of next year. One prominent destination where LeBron could land is the Lakers where he will be joining the young core that includes Lonzo Ball. Or, he could join Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons in Philadelphia. Or what about Houston? The possibilities are limitless. Or, he could remain in Cleveland depending on how far will the Cavaliers go in the playoffs. 

Conclusion

One thing is certain. All of the questions above and more will be answered slowly as 2018 begins unfolding itself soon. Mind you, folks. The trade deadline is almost at hand.Remember those trade rumors? They may make noise anew come January. 

Happy New Year, everyone. 

The Numbers Don’t Lie: Kyle Kuzma SHOULD Be an All-Star

He’s outplaying other rookies including Lonzo Ball.

Over the course of the season, almost everyone is saying the same thing: Kyle Kuzma is definitely the steal of the draft. And the Los Angeles Lakers have the Brooklyn Nets to thank for. 
Imagine if the Lakers didn’t trade D’Angelo Russell to the Nets in exchange for Brook Lopez and the rights to pick Kuzma, the 27th pick in the 2017 Draft, the Lakers would have been in a much worse situation owing to Lonzo Ball’s struggles in terms of putting the ball into the basket.  Of course, Lonzo Ball is getting more attention from the media because of the tremendous amount of hype that he got even before the draft and of course, thanks to his equally famous father, LaVar Ball.
While many fans initially thought that Lonzo Ball would be the new face of a franchise who has been enduring long spells of no playoff appearances, they are dead wrong. Who is the Lakers’ scoring leader this season? Not Lonzo Ball. Not Brandon Ingram. It’s the guy wearing the #0, Kyle Kuzma.
Kuzma has been averaging 18 points per game while playing for 31 minutes. He’s making 49% of his shot attempts including 41% of his attempts from the three-point line- leading the Lakers. But what made people go crazy and began campaigning for Kuzma to play in the All-Star Game is his performance in the last two weeks. How good ios Kuzma during that period?
  • 26 points per game
  • 7 rebounds
  • 52% field goal shooting
On Christmas Day against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Kuzma exploded for 31 points- the most for a rookie player who played on Christmas Day since LeBron James had 34 back in 2003. No wonder why the King himself was also impressed with #0. Kuzma went 6 for 13 from the three-point line and had 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and a blocked shot. 

Conclusion

Will these numbers equalize to Kyle Kuzma getting a spot in the All-Star Game? Definitely. Rookie of the Year? That’s not impossible. Face of the franchise? YEP! 
For now, Kyle Kuzma is performing as if he’s not a rookie. He may have his down moments but the beauty of it, he keeps on coming back way better and he has already broken many rookie-related records. Example? He became the first rookie since Jerry West to average 25 points, at least, in 3 consecutive games. 
No wonder why many teams are now scratching their heads. They missed the chance to have Kuzma on board. And they missed BIG TIME. 

Streaking No More! Lakers Snap Rockets’ 14-Game Winning Streak

Kyle Kuzma erupts for 38 while Chris Paul gets hurt

Ever since Chris Paul made his season debut with the Houston Rockets upon fully-recovering from his injury, things have been going well for the Rockets as they didn’t lose a game in all of the games that CP3 played with the team. They went down a couple of times but either CP3 or James Harden would save the Rockets from an imminent defeat to come up victorious.
However, everything has a limitation.
As painful as it may sound especially for the fans of James Harden and company, their team’s 14-game winning streak is no more as they were defeated by none other than the Los Angeles Lakers, 122-116.
While the Rockets were able to keep it close during the latter parts of the 4th quarter despite Chris Paul leaving with 10 minutes left in the game due to a sore leg, it only proved one thing: despite James Hardens 51 points, the Rockets aren’t a complete team just yet without Chris Paul in the line-up.
So what doomed the Rockets and their winning streak?

Kyle’s Kuz-mazing 38 Points

Kyle Kuzma has been outplaying his more popular rookie teammate, Lonzo Ball and his performance against Houston is no different at all. Kuzma started the game blazing hot, making the first 6 of his 3-pointers before cooling down a bit. By the end of the game, Kuzma has already surpassed his previous career high to come up with 38 points on a 12 for 17 shooting include 7 for 10 from deep. He also had 7 rebounds and 4 assists while playing for 40 minutes.

15 Turnovers for Houston

James Harden had 6 of those turnovers. The turnover problem could be associated with Chris Paul’s absence especially in the 4th quarter as Harden had to take over the ball-handling responsibilities- something that CP3 has done marvelously. However, we all have to keep in mind that the Lakers are among the top 10 teams in the league when it comes to forcing their opponents to commit those turnovers. 

Chris Paul’s Struggles and Departure Hurt the Rockets

Before he was taken out of the game for good, Chris Paul has been visibly struggling on the court. He only had 8 points on a horrible 2 for 7 field goal shooting. He also had 3 turnovers and only played for 28 minutes. Although James Harden had 9 assists to go along with his 51 points, there’s no other point guard who can create scoring opportunities better than Chris Paul himself.

Conclusion

While Houston’s latest setback doesn’t change the fact that they are still the best team in the NBA as we speak, they better pray that Chris Paul will be ready to play come the Rockets’ next game against the Los Angeles Clippers. Why? James Harden cannot do everything on his own. 

Kobe Needs to Look at Himself First, Asking Lonzo Ball for Something he did not also Achieve in his First Year

Kobe Bryant is already getting impatient with the Lakers and Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball Needs to Get Better Now - Kobe Bryant

Make an Impact and Win

Recently, the legendary Kobe Bryant of the Los Angles have spoken about how he feels about the current state of the Lakers and he had some good but mostly criticism about the team and Lonzo Ball.
Kobe Bryant is one of the best players of the Los Angeles Lakers and is considered to be at the same level as Michael Jordan. Averaging as high as 35 points for the whole season, Kobe together had been a leader for the Lakers for a long time together with Shaq and other great players whom he was partnered with.
Now at 39 years old, he got something to say about Lonzo Ball and the Lakers:
“We never thought, ‘OK, we’re gonna win four years from now.’ We really thought, ‘This is our year. We’re gonna get this done. We’re gonna push, push, push, push, push, get better now.’ And in the process of having that kind of impatience, you develop. If you’re just patiently going about it, you’ll never get there. For players, it’s a kind of patient impatience.”- Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant wants the Lakers to start winning and with the current record of the Lakers, it isn’t exactly what they thought. Lonzo Ball was one of the players who is considered to be a big piece of that winning team but Ball was just too inconsistent and just didn’t have that fire to take over games, at least not yet. Averaging 8 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assist Lonzo ball isn’t exactly showing up as advertised and the worst part is, his shooting is at a measly 31%.

Kobe Brant was not good right off the gates

Kobe Bryant demands the team to get better now but he himself was not that good of a player to start with, in fact, his points, assists, rebounds and still, averages in his rookie year was lower than Lonzo Ball.  Averaging 7.6 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.6 assist Kobe didn’t start great.
Through time,  Kobe Bryant has earned his spot and continued to grow and developed that Mamba Mentality that we all know now. Who can blame him,  unlike Kobe, there was just too much expectation and opportunity given to Lonzo Ball and right now he is just not performing to it.
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Will Lonzo Ball be…

One of the greatest players
Be an All-Star
Be a Leader
Be a Good Player
Be an Average Player
Be a supporting player
Be a Bust

created here

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A Wheeler’s Opinion: Lonzo Ball is a Better Rookie than Kobe Bryant?

The numbers aren’t lying unfortunately

Lonzo Ball is actually playing better than Kobe Bryant in his rookie season.
Hold it right there, folks. This basketball pundit on wheels doesn’t mean any disrespect to Kobe Bryant because, like most fans of the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe has been one of this pundit’s favorite players. Why? For starters, he’s a 5-time NBA champion, holds the second-highest scoring game at 81 points, set tons of records plus other awards in his 20-year stint with the Purple and Gold.
Fast forward to the 2017-2018 season where the Lakers are at 6-10 after 16 games, one guy is constantly disappointing everyone despite the hype that was thrown around him even before his grand arrival in LA. His name is Lonzo Ball. Why disappointing? Below are the numbers:
  • 8.8 points per game
  • 6.6 rebounds per game
  • 6.8 assists per game (Leads the team)
  • 1.6 steals per game (Leads the team)
  • 0.9 blocks per game
While Lonzo Ball had been able to score in double figures multiple times this season, his shooting percentages are one of the ugly things that can be associated to the Lakers’ early struggles to start the new season. How bad is Lonzo’s shooting so far? Check out the percentages below:
  • 30.8% from the field
  • 22.7% from the three-point line
  • 36.4% from the two-point area
  • 46.% from the free throw line
See? They’re horrible shooting percentages even for a rookie. And Head Coach Luke Walton has already stressed that Lonzo Ball will remain as the Lakers’ starting point guard despite his offensive woes which have been hampering the Lakers in many ways.

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However, we all have to keep in mind that despite all the hypes, Lonzo Ball is still a rookie, to begin with. Having mentioned that, let’s also take a look at the numbers of Kobe Bryant during his also well-hyped rookie season: 
  • 7.6 points per game
  • 1.9 rebounds per game
  • 1.3 assists per game
  • 0.7 steals per game
  • 0.9 blocks per game
And yet Kobe Bryant went on to become one of the game’s elite scorers the NBA has seen. In fact, many considered him as his generation’s Michael Jordan. And mind you, folks, then 18-year-old Kobe Bryant entered the NBA straight from high school so that was a big leap on Kobe’s part.

Conclusion

Now, this pundit isn’t saying that Lonzo Ball can replace Kobe Bryant as the greatest Laker of all time because there will always be one and only Kobe Bryant. But if you look at the statistics of both players and compare them,  Lonzo Ball is a better rookie than Kobe Bryant and Lonzo has a long way to go in his rookie season. More points to score. More records to smash. And hopefully, more games to win.

A Wheeler’s Opinion: Lonzo Ball Should Come off the Bench

Given his struggles offensively, Lonzo doesn’t deserve to start a game

Fortunately, Lonzo Ball will remain a starter. For now.
Despite not playing, Lonzo Ball in the 4th quarter during the past two games, despite going to Jordan Clarkson for the fourth quarter, one thing is certain for Head Coach Luke Walton: “He’s our starting point guard”
Okay. While this basketball pundit on wheels respects the decision of Luke Walton to keep his prized but horribly shooting rookie in the starting five, it’s a complete waste of minutes, of possessions, of opportunities. Why? Let’s run some comparisons between Lonzo Ball and Jordan Clarkson:

Lonzo Ball

  • 9 points per game- 30% field goal shooting and 23% from the three-point line
  • 6.9 assists per game- leads the team
  • 2.7 turnovers per game- leads the team

Jordan Clarkson

  • 15 points per game- 49% field goal shooting and 38% from the three-point line
  • 2.9 assists per game 
  • 1.9 turnovers per game
Okay, there’s no doubt that Lonzo Ball is seasoned to become one of the most exciting playmakers in the league in the coming years. He’s currently averaging almost 7 assists per night and he can definitely create more opportunities for his teammates. 
However, you cannot simply rely on your playmaking abilities to lead your team to victories. You need to score more especially when the team needs a basket and none of your teammates are open. Sure, Lonzo Ball exploded for 29 points against a bad team but up to this point, he hasn’t shown any sign of consistency especially when it comes to his shooting. 

Conclusion

Luke Walton has already decided to keep Lonzo Ball in the starting five, for now. But if Lonzo Ball does continue to struggle offensively, how many defeats will the Lakers need to face before Coach Walton realizes that yes, Lonzo Ball NEEDS to come off the bench, for now? 

A Wheeler’s Opinion: Will the Lakers Trade Julius Randle?

Randle’s slowly decreasing role means he’s not included in the long-term plans of LA

The question is: Where will Julius Randle play after this season?
The Los Angeles Lakers are not yet in its glorious form. Not. Yet. Yes, they got one of the most hyped and yet, almost disappointing rookies in the history of the NBA in Lonzo Ball who, a few days ago, became the youngest NBA player to record a triple-double, a record previously held by LeBron James. 
Yes, the Lakers got one of the biggest steals from this year’s draft in Kyle Kuzma who is playing way better than the number 2 pick. And yet, they are still at the 11th place in the West, thanks to their 6-8 record.
Who is leading the Lakers nowadays? Many people think it should be Lonzo Ball. Many people think it should be Brandon Ingram. But no, it’s Jordan Clarkson who is currently leading the team, at least in scoring with 15 points per game- all while coming off the bench.

So where’s Julius Randle in all of this?

In 14 games so far, Randle hasn’t started for the Lakers even though he’s relatively a  young veteran. To explain how decreased the role of Randle is, he’s been playing for 19 minutes on the average. Kyle Kuzma for one, has averaged 31 playing minutes per game and has started for 6 of the 14  games for the Lakers, so far. Larry Nance Jr., who is out due to an injury, has averaged 23 playing minutes in the 8 games that he started.
Yes, Julius Randle is leading the team in field goal percentage, making 58% of his shot attempts. Yes, he is averaging 11 points and 6 rebounds per game. And yes, we all know he’s capable of scoring more than just 11 points. But, we haven’t seen that.
Here’s the problem, folks:
Randle is set to become a restricted free agent at the end of the current season as the Lakers didn’t offer a contract extension before the season began unless Magic Johnson and company extends an offer. Nah!

What will happen to Randle?

If you were to ask this basketball pundit on wheels, it’s likely that the Lakers will trade Julius Randle for a first-round draft pick before the trade deadline. 
Why? Once Larry Nance Jr. gets back into shape, the Lakers will get a healthy frontcourt once again with Brook Lopez at the top of things. So Randle’s minutes will continue to deteriorate. There’s no point for the Lakes to keep him especially if they want to have enough cash to attract superstars.

Conclusion 

Trade him and you might get another steal from the draft. Let him walk and you gain a roster spot. 
Keep him? Your money is sleeping. If you were to ask this pundit on wheels, just trade him or let him walk. 
Who knows? Paul George might come to Hollywood. So might LeBron James. But the Lakers will need to act quickly and, smart. 

A Wheeler’s Opinion: Paul George is Headed for LA Next Season

It’s unlikely that Oklahoma will keep PG13 after this season

Paul George Oklahoma Thunder
Paul George’s 42 points against the Clippers may not be enough for his team to keep him. 
There was no doubt in everyone’s mind that from the moment Paul George and Carmelo Anthony joined forces with Russell Westbrook, the Oklahoma City Thunder would have the firepower and more talent to take on the Houston Rockets or even the defending champions, Golden State Warriors come the playoffs. 
In fact, most people were saying back then that with their newest Big 3 in the post-Kevin Durant era, the Thunder can now contend for a championship against the Cleveland Cavaliers- should both teams make it that far come June of next year. It’s really nice to dream about winning championships with this kind of a team and it seems that OKC fans may have to wait much longer before their team makes that dream into a reality. Why?
Here’s why.
Sure, the Thunder beat the Los Angeles Clippers yesterday, 120-111. Sure, Paul George has played his best game yet with Oklahoma, scoring 42 points to go along with 9 rebounds and 7 assists. Sure, the Thunder rank 3rd in the league in terms of limiting their opponents’ total points in a game, only allowing their opponents to 98 points on the average. 
But these don’t outweigh the fact that the Oklahoma City Thunder are lagging behind in the Western Conference as they are standing with a record at 5-7- good for 10th place in the West. Is that how a team with a talented Big 3 supposed to perform?
Nope!


But let’s just focus on one specific player: Paul George. Through 12 games into the 2017-2018 regular season, below are his averages:

  • 21 points (leads the team)
  • 5 rebounds
  • 2 assists
  • 2.58 steals (leads the NBA)
Now, those are good averages especially for a player who sustained a massively gross injury a few years back. And #13 is playing like the same player he was once during his stints with the Indiana Pacers before he sustained that injury while preparing to play for Team USA. His 42 points against the Clippers is one reminder that he has still more than left in his tank. 
However, let’s keep in mind that the deal that sent PG13 from Indiana to Oklahoma came as a surprise to the majority of the NBA fans as Oklahoma was not the destination everyone had thought where George would play this season. Nope! Even before the end of last season, Paul George has repeatedly stated that he intended to play for the Los Angeles Lakers come free agency 2018. 
But instead, he was traded to Oklahoma.
Now here’s the catchy part: The Thunder can only afford to keep either Carmelo Anthony OR Paul George. They cannot keep both beyond this season. Why? Even if both players want to come back next season, Anthony and George have player options for next season which are amounting to 27 million US Dollars and 20 million US Dollars respectively which means the Thunder will have to pay a big amount of luxury tax assuming they want to keep both players. 

Conclusion

Let’s just assume that either the Thunder choose to stick with Carmelo Anthony or, Paul George decides to leave after 1 season alongside Anthony and Russell Westbrook. Where is he heading next? One possible: Hollywood to play ball with Lonzo Ball and probably, LeBron James?

The Most Talked About NBA Rookie: Is Lonzo Ball a Bust or Not?

Lonzo’s numbers are not lying

Has Lonzo Ball turned out to be that rookie that was advertised? 

10 games into the regular season as the Los Angeles Lakers are sitting at 5-5 as they are currently playing against their arch-nemesis, the league-leading Boston Celtics, let’s take a look at the numbers of one specific rookie who has been in the center of the spotlight ever since his grand arrival in Hollywood, Lonzo Ball. 
In fact, Ball was already the most hyped rookie even before he was drafted by the Lakers as the social media was flooded with videos featuring Ball’s performances during his 1-year stint at the University of California, Los Angeles. 
When the inevitability happened as the Lakers finally drafted Ball despite worries from fans and pundits alike that  Ball’s equally famous father, LaVar Ball might interfere with the Lakers’ way of managing minutes, fans erupted in hope as they began posting on social media with Lonzo Ball teaming up with Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram and fellow rookie Kyle Kuzma, some fans were saying that this will be the young core that might break the Lakers’ dry spell in making the playoffs. 
Might
As mentioned, the Lakers are currently playing against the Celtics and they were down big back in the first half but came back in the 3rd quarter. While the game is ongoing, let’s answer one question: was Lonzo Ball all hype?

Yes. He’s a bust!

  • 8 points per game
  • 29% field goal shooting (23% from the three-point line)
  • 6 rebounds per game
  • 6 assists per game
Performance-wise, Lonzo Ball has become nothing but a hyped player who only scored in double-figures, twice in 10 games, 29 points against the Phoenix Suns, and 13 points against the Detroit Pistons. 
Then, he was held scoreless by the Portland Trail Blazers. 
One may say that he’s still adjusting to playing in the pro ranks but if the Lakers want to return to the playoffs, they will need Lonzo to perform on a certain level that made him an early candidate for the Rookie of the Year award. 
Why? Just look at Kyle Kuzma’s numbers, folks. Kuzma is averaging 15 points per game while making 56% of his shots. And Kuzma has been playing 29 minutes on the average.

It’s only 10 games and he’s a rookie

Let’s be fair. He’s only 20 years old and a rookie. 
While he’s great during his college days, adjusting to the physicality in the NBA alone, takes time and so is proving that he’s worth all the hype. 
Believe the pundit on wheels, folks, Lonzo Ball will become one of the brightest stars in the NBA and when that happens, his haters can only eat their hatred. He might not be able to score consistently but believe it or not, Lonzo Ball is one of the reasons why the Lakers are at 5-5.

Conclusion

Lonzo Ball still has a long way to go in his young NBA career and yes, he will make all of us watch once he finds his groove in the league. Give him time and the right training, it will not be long ’til he starts playing like the player he was advertised to be: Balling like nothing else matters. 
Otherwise, LeBron James might want to reconsider his plans to join Lonzo come July of next year. 

A Wheeler’s Opinion: 3 Reasons Why the Lakers will Improve this Season

A Ball, A KuzMazing Steal and more…

The dynamic duo of Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma will bring good things for the Lakers. 
Ever since the possibility of Lonzo Ball coming to the Purple and Gold was hyped up, many of the Laker fans around the world had their hopes went high especially considering how talented Lonzo is in his lone playing year in UCLA. 
And right after picking up Ball as the 2nd pick in this year’s NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers also received the rights to pick Kyle Kuzma as the 27th pick after acquiring the rights from the Brooklyn Nets which also landed them another star big man in Brook Lopez. 
While Lonzo Ball is beyond reasonable doubt, the main attraction in the Lakers nowadays, who would have thought that Kyle Kuzma is a hidden treasure in the draft, someone whom the Nets sorely missed?
Let this basketball pundit break the good things that will bring more success to the Lakers this season and beyond:

Lonzo Ball

Let’s start with the most obvious one. After averaging 14 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists with UCLA, Lonzo Ball made sure that his presence was felt as he averaged 16 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists while playing in 8 games during the Summer League in Las Vegas- a competition which the Lakers won. Oh and one more thing, Lonzo Ball bagged the MVP award during the Summer League, too.
Although his numbers had dropped the moment the preseason games began when he only played in two games before he was shut down due to an injury, we can expect him to be healthy and ready to rumble come the opening night. 

KuzMazing Steal from the Draft

While Lonzo Ball may be the most hyped rookie entering the 2017-2018 season, probably the most hyped rookie in the history of the NBA,  many are already saying that Kyle Kuzma will become the face of the Lakers and not Lonzo Ball, or Brandon Ingram, or even Julius Randle. 
This claim is backed by Kuzma’s numbers in the preseason games of the Lakers when he averaged close to 20 points and 3 assists while making 56% of his shot attempts in 27 minutes of action. This will cost some of the veterans in the rotation of Luke Walton their playing minutes because Kuzma is actually playing better alongside Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle despite losing tons of their games during the preseason. 
If anything, Kyle Kuzma has already attracted attention from basketball fans around the world and this guy will likely give Lonzo Ball a run for his money because despite being the 27th pick in the draft, Kyle Kuzma, this early, is already being included as a candidate for the Rookie of the Year award. 
Yes, folks. Kyle Kuzma may steal the limelight away from Lonzo Ball. 

Out Mozgov. In Lopez.

Simply put it this way: Timofey Mozgov is USELESS. Brook Lopez is way BETTER. Lopez can contribute more for the Lakers than Mozgov who only wasted away the Lakers’ money and the minutes that would be better given to more deserving AND performing players. Sure, the swap also included sending an immature D’Angelo Russell but this basketball pundit firmly believes that this swap will be worth it especially in the long run.

Conclusion:

While the three things mentioned above won’t guarantee a return trip to the playoffs for the Lakers, they will certainly make things better. For starters, they will improve the chances of the Lakers in winning more games than just lagging below the standings in the packed and stacked Western Conference. And who knows? The dynamic duo of Kuzma and Ball might be the final piece to adding LeBron James into the picture, right? 

Can Lonzo Ball Handle This Too Much Pressure?

Is Lonzo Ball Ready to take over the Lakers?
Easier said than done. Lavar Ball has done all the talking and his father was rather successful in putting him in the position they wanted but come NBA opening night, the talking shall be over and the son, Lonzo Ball needs to prove that he is the player his dad proclaims him to be.
According to Dennis Scott, Lonzo Ball maybe the rookie this season with the greatest pressure and may also be the rookie who would get the most opportunity as Magic Johnson believes in him and is ready to put him at the center of the Laker franchise.
We know that Lonzo Ball is great but he doesn’t seem to be the kind of player who can lift a team alone like a LeBron James.

How Accurate is Lonzo Ball’s Passing, Let Sports Science Answer it for You

Lonzo Ball has not played a single NBA game and yet he is already one of the most talked about player in the basketball world.  Thanks to his father.
A rookie from UCLA, Lonzo Ball is the oldest son of Lavar Ball and the second overall pick of the Los Angeles Lakers this year.
The Lakers wants Lonzo Ball so much that they even traded away their 2015 2nd overall pick, D’Angelo Russel for him.
They have good reasons for doing so and one of them is below.
Check out Lonzo Ball as he threads a pass to his younger brother while an SUV approaches. 

Highlights: Why Lonzo Ball is Summer League’s MVP? Can He be ROY and MVP for the Upcoming Season?

I think LaVar Ball, his father, has already put a lot of pressure on this young man to put even more pressure on him.  Good signs so far as Lonzo Ball got his first of probably many accolades in the NBA.  
16.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.5 steals, 9.3 assists per game and 2 triple doubles. What more can we ask for? Well, LaVar seems to think that his son will be the greatest Lakers ever and will be better than the current president of the Lakers, Magic Johnson.  Lonzo has responded very well and has looked very relaxed all throughout the summer league.
While we are at it and now that we know he can play, is it safe to say that the Laker will finally be competitive this year? Will they make it to the playoffs? Can he be a rookie of the year and an MVP?
Lonzo shows a lot of promise but we all know that anything and everything could happen. One thing is for sure, he has already become a superstar like his father foretold.

VN Design Predicts the Future Cover of Slam Magazine: The Ball Family

Redesigned SLAM Magazine’s recent cover
#VNdesign is one of the best sports designer who creates basketball graphics recently created the future poster of Slam Magazine that he dubbed as LaVar’s Ultimate Dream.
LaVar has two other kids that are currently not in the NBA and his dream is to make them all play under the Lakers.
Do you think it will happen?

LaVar Ball Says Lonzo Will Be "Best Guard Ever", Step Over Magic Johnson

LaVar Ball issues another proclamation during the Boston Celtics versus Los Angeles Lakes Las Vegas Summer League Matchup.

LaVar Ball certainly knows how to make headline. The father of Lonzo was one of the reasons why he is a well known basketball player even before he actually play in the NBA. The antics and the proclamation of LaVar has made headlines not just in the Philippines but also all over the world.
Basketball nations are intrigued if Lonzo can take the new Lakers to new heights.

Jimmy Kimmel Talks to Lakers #2 NBA Draft Pick Lonzo Ball, Who Will Try to Take the Lakers to Playoffs

Lonzo Ball got what he wished for. Looks like he will be a star!
Lonzo talks to Jimmy about the draft experience and answers a number of interesting questions including if he would match the guarantee of his father that he would take the Los Angeles Lakers to the Playoffs.
(courtesy: youtube/Jimmy Kimmel Live)  

The NBA draft is the most interesting draft in sports so we sent Guillermo to Barclays Center in Brooklyn to help Jimmy interview the number two pick by the Los Angeles Lakers, Lonzo Ball.

ICYMI: Lakers Draft Results and the Trade with Nets for Brook Lopez

The Lakers entered the 2017 NBA Draft with 2 picks in the first round, the #2 and #28. By virtue of a few trades, they ended the night quite differently.
They started the night by selecting Lonzo Ball, guard out of UCLA with the #2 overall pick.
Catch the introductory press conference on Friday, 6/23 at 2:30pm PT. Livestream on Lakers.com or the Lakers app or Lakers Twitter/Facebook.
As a result of the Brook Lopez trade with the Nets, the Lakers acquired the draft rights to the #27 pick, Kyle Kuzma, forward out of Utah, sending D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to Brooklyn.
The #28 pick, acquired from Houston in the Lou Williams trade, was then traded to Utah for the #30 and #42 picks. The Lakers followed that up by selecting Josh Hart, guard out of Villanova, with the 30th pick and Thomas Bryant, center out of Indiana, with the 42nd pick.
Following the draft, GM Rob Pelinka addressed the media about the day’s action.

Lakers Trades their 2015 Number 2 Draft, What Will They Do this Year?

There will be a changing of the guards this year and the Lakers are leading the pack. They are set to pick Lonzo Ball but there is also a big possibility that he can be traded.
The Lakers is thinking long term and every move that they are doing is basically in preperation for Paul George.
The Lakers hold the No. 2 pick for the third year in a row. Before selecting D’Angelo Russell in 2015 and Brandon Ingram in 2016, they hadn’t picked as high as second since selecting James Worthy first overall in 1982. Last year’s selection of Ingram was the franchise’s fifth pick ever in the lottery (1985-present). The Lakers selected Eddie Jones with the 11th pick in 1994, chose Andrew Bynum with the 10th pick in 2005 and tapped Julius Randle with the seventh pick in 2014.

Thirty-six International Early Entry Candidates Withdraw from 2017 NBA Draft

Thirty-six international players who had declared as early entry candidates for the NBA Draft 2017 presented by State Farm have withdrawn. Two collegiate players who previously had declared as early entry candidates have withdrawn. There are 63 collegiate and 10 international prospects that remain early entry candidates.
The NBA Draft 2017 presented by State Farm will be held on Thursday, June 22 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Here is the list of international players who have withdrawn their names from consideration for the NBA Draft 2017 presented by State Farm:

PLAYER                                               TEAM (COUNTRY*)

Ege Arar                                                  Galatasaray (Turkey)
Laurynas Beliauskas                               Neptunas (Lithuania)
Terrence Bieshaar                                   Joventut (Spain)
Laurynas Birutis                                     Vytautas (Lithuania)
Leo Cizmic                                              Sevilla (Spain)
Berkan Durmaz                                      Tofas (Turkey)
Martynas Echodas                                  Siauliai (Lithuania)
Cyrille Eliezer-Vanerot                           Levallois (France)
Aquiles Ferreira                                      Pinheiros (Brazil)
Diego Flaccadori                                    Trento (Italy)
Tolga Gecim                                          Banvit (Turkey)
Yoan Granvorka                                     Nancy (France)
Egemen Guven                                      Karsiyaka (Turkey)
Karlis Helmanis                                     RTU Riga (Latvia)
Aleksa Ilic                                             Buducnost (Montenegro)
Verners Kohs                                         GBA Sparta (Czech Republic)
Antonios Koniaris                                  PAOK (Greece)
Arnoldas Kulboka                                  Baunach (Germany)
Rodions Kurucs                                     Barcelona (Spain)
Axel Louissaint                                      Lugano (Switzerland)
Michail Lountzis                                    Panathinaikos (Greece)
Gytis Masiulis                                        Zalgiris (Lithuania)
Lovro Mazalin                                        Zadar (Croatia)
Regimantas Miniotas                              Vytautas (Lithuania)
Kostja Mushidi                                      Mega Leks (Serbia)
Margiris Normantas                               Lietuvos Rytas (Lithuania)
Elie Okobo                                             Pau Orthez (France)
Viny Okouo                                             Unicaja (Spain)
Ayberk Olmaz                                         Istanbul BSB (Turkey)
Lucas Pereira                                           Pinheiros (Brazil)
Martynas Sajus                                        Starogard (Poland)
Borisa Simanic                                        Crvena Zvezda (Serbia)
Nik Slavica                                              Cibona (Croatia)
Berk Ugurlu                                            Fenerbahce (Turkey)
Kristupas Zemaitis                                 Vytautas (Lithuania)
Zou Yuchen                                             Bayi Fubang (China)

Here is the list of additional players from colleges who have withdrawn their names from consideration for the NBA Draft 2017 presented by State Farm:

PLAYER                                               SCHOOL

Darin Johnson                                        CSU-Northridge
Maverick Rowan                                    North Carolina State

Following is a list of players from colleges who remain early entry candidates for the NBA Draft 2017 presented by State Farm:

PLAYER                                               SCHOOL

Edrice Adebayo                                      Kentucky
Jarrett Allen                                           Texas
Ike Anigbogu                                         UCLA
OG Anunoby                                         Indiana
Dwayne Bacon                                       Florida State
Lonzo Ball                                             UCLA
Jordan Bell                                             Oregon
James Blackmon Jr.                                Indiana
Antonio Blakeney                                   LSU
Tony Bradley                                         North Carolina
Isaiah Briscoe                                         Kentucky
Dillon Brooks                                         Oregon
Thomas Bryant                                      Indiana
Clandell Cetoute                                    Thiel College (PA)
John Collins                                           Wake Forest
Zach Collins                                           Gonzaga
Chance Comanche                                 Arizona
Tyler Dorsey                                          Oregon
PJ Dozier                                               South Carolina
Jawun Evans                                          Oklahoma State
Tony Farmer                                          Lee College (TX)
De’Aaron Fox                                        Kentucky
Markelle Fultz                                       Washington
Harry Giles                                            Duke
Isaac Humphries                                   Kentucky
Tre Hunter                                             Mt. San Jacinto College (CA)
Jonathan Isaac                                        Florida State
Frank Jackson                                        Duke
Josh Jackson                                          Kansas
Justin Jackson                                        North Carolina
Jaylen Johnson                                       Louisville
Ted Kapita                                             North Carolina State
Marcus Keene                                        Central Michigan
Luke Kennard                                        Duke
Kyle Kuzma                                           Utah
TJ Leaf                                                  UCLA
Tyler Lydon                                           Syracuse
Lauri Markkanen                                    Arizona
Eric Mika                                               BYU
Donovan Mitchell                                  Louisville
Malik Monk                                           Kentucky
Johnathan Motley                                   Baylor
Austin Nichols                                       Virginia
Semi Ojeleye                                          SMU
Cameron Oliver                                      Nevada
Justin Patton                                          Creighton
L.J. Peak                                                Georgetown
Ivan Rabb                                              California
Xavier Rathan-Mayes                          Florida State
Devin Robinson                                     Florida
Josh Robinson                                        Austin Peay
Kobi Simmons                                       Arizona
Dennis Smith Jr.                                     North Carolina State
Edmond Sumner                                    Xavier
Caleb Swanigan                                     Purdue
Jayson Tatum                                        Duke
Matt Taylor                                            New Mexico State
Trevor Thompson                                   Ohio State
Melo Trimble                                           Maryland
Craig Victor II                                          LSU
Antone Warren                                       Antelope Valley CC (CA)
Nigel Williams-Goss                               Gonzaga
D.J. Wilson                                               Michigan

Following is a list of international players who remain early entry candidates for the NBA Draft 2017 presented by State Farm:

PLAYER                                               TEAM (COUNTRY*)

Simon Birgander                                    Clavijo (Spain)
Luka Bozic                                             Zagreb (Croatia)
Vlatko Cancar                                        Mega Leks (Serbia)
Wesley Alves Da Silva                           Paulistano (Brazil)
George de Paula                                     Paulistano (Brazil)
Isaiah Hartenstein                                  Zalgiris (Lithuania)
Jonathan Jeanne                                     Nancy (France)
Alpha Kaba                                            Mega Leks (Serbia)
Tidjan Keita                                           Cegep de Thetford (Canada)
Frank Ntilikina                                       Strasbourg (France)

*Country indicates where team plays, not country of players’ nationality

D’Angelo Russell is Going To Brooklyn for Brook Lopez Expiring Contract to Open Up a Space for PG13 and LeBron

Magic Johnson, the current basketball of operations of the Los Angeles Lakers is true to his word when he said that only and only Brandon Ingram is safe from being traded.
The 2015 2nd overall pick apparently isn’t who the Lakers is looking for as they now braced for his replacement this year.
Another 2nd overall pick is on the horizon and it is looking like Lonzo Ball will be that person.
And since you practically will get the point guard Lakers wanted, there is no sense of keeping another.
The recent move of the Los Angeles Lakers to trade away D’Angelo Russell and Timothy Mozgov is clearly a salary cap clearing move to make way for their big push in the upcoming 2018 free agency season that could land them two potential superstars with the name of Paul George and LeBron James.
Brooklyn was the chosen destination. The Nets was willing to absorb the contract of  worth about $54 from  the Lakers in exchange for Brook Lopez expiring contract.
Lakers also receives 27th pick of this year’s rookie draft.

Oh No! Oh Yes! Lakers Not Sold On Lonzo Ball

Mixed reactions. That’s what I am feeling now about the recent rumors about Lakers not taking Lonzo. Sure there are other great prospects in the draft pool but to pass on Lonzo, you would always wonder what if.  
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon explain that while Lonzo Ball’s workout with the Los Angeles Lakers did not play to his strengths, they believe he will still be drafted No. 2 overall by L.A.