Lonzo Ball Credits LaVar, LeBron James on How to React After Losses

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistOctober 30, 2017

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 27:  Lonzo Ball #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers dribbles upcourt during the second half of a game against the Toronto Raptors at Staples Center on October 27, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers dropped to 2-4 with Saturday's 96-81 loss at the Utah Jazz, and rookie Lonzo Ball was willing to accept the blame—just like he learned from his father and LeBron James.

"That is how I was brought up," he said Monday, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com. "I am not going to change. ... It is a team game; we all play for each other—obviously we win and lose as a team. But I like to take the blame when we lose.

"It's just what my dad taught me. When I started at six, he has been coaching me the same way my whole life."

While his father, LaVar, had a more direct impact on his life, Ball also pointed to one of his NBA colleagues: "My favorite player growing up is LeBron. He still plays the same way to the day. He always takes [the blame]."

Despite Ball's statements, it's hard to place the blame for the Lakers' early struggles squarely on his shoulders considering he is leading the team in rebounds (7.5) and assists (7.7) per game.

He is also averaging 10.0 points and 1.3 steals per night in the early going of his rookie campaign, though he is shooting 31.1 percent from the field and 28.1 percent from three-point range.

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Youngmisuk noted Ball had five turnovers against the Jazz and said "two dumb plays by me" caused the loss—a failure to box out Donovan Mitchell on a putback dunk and a turnover that led to a Mitchell three that stretched Utah's advantage to 11 late in the third quarter.

Considering Ball is a mere 20 years old and essentially the face of one of the most successful franchises in professional sports history, there are bound to be growing pains. Still, for every mistake he's made, there's been a flash of greatness, and the Lakers—who were 91-237 over the last four seasons—have a ways to go before they are contenders.

It's telling Ball is already willing to accept blame for a loss. If he builds on his successes and learns from his failures, he will have the opportunity to live up to the hype as the Lakers rebuild in the coming years.

His next chance to do just that will come Tuesday against the 5-2 Detroit Pistons.


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