It turns out if you don’t impulsively label a rookie a huge bust less than halfway into his first season, he might actually improve with more NBA experience. But life isn’t that simple when you’re Lonzo Ball.
The Lakers point guard has dealt with plenty of criticism, both fair (those taking aim at his poor shooting) and unfair (those taking aim at the hype train driven by his father and any hyperbole that pushed him as a failure because he had not turned around the Lakers in his first few months on the job). While Ball has certainly struggled as all first-year players at his position often do, his recent stretch of success should give Lakers fans plenty of hope.
Ball might not be able to sustain that level of play over the Lakers’ final 20 games of the regular season, and we’re working with a small sample size. But it’s not just the uptick in production and efficiency �� it’s how Ball looks on the floor.
The Rockets are the one team whose win truly means something. They are better than the Cavs, there is no way around it. With 19 made 3-pointers and 28 assists on 44 field goals made, Houston is a well-oiled machine that is looking more and more like a team that could challenge the Warriors for the Western Conference title, especially with Chris Paul at his best. The former Clippers guard finished the night with 22 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds with a plus-47 differential when he was on the court.
Irving, a well-known conspiracy theorist, said he appreciated the speculation and the tangents it spawned. But it wasn’t that complicated, really.
When I actually had hair on my face and they put the beard on, Irving explained, with the makeup, I had to put on a full-blown mask, tie the hair in, it would rip some of the hair out. There was one time where I had glue stuck in my beard. After the day was done, I was combing my beard and some of the glue was actually still stuck in my beard, so as I am combing, some of the hair was coming out.
Being on set for the movie did help Irving. While his Uncle Drew character is a purveyor of old-school ways, he spent time with co-stars who are now old enough to qualify as old-schoolers. Shaquille O’Neal has a major role, alongside Reggie Miller, Chris Webber, Lisa Leslie and Nate Robinson. They gave Irving some lessons on how things have changed in basketball in the last 15 or 20 years.