As the 2017-18 run kicks off, Lonzo Ball, Ben Simmons, and Jayson Tatum are a part of the crowd that were expected to make waves in their pro debuts.
Ball was the most disappointing of all as the point guard faltered as he and the Los Angeles Lakers were absolutely hammered by the Los Angeles Clippers in both teams home debut at the Staples Center on Thursday.
The 108-92 score was not only indicative of just how bad the Lakers as a whole looked, but it was Ball that drew measured comments about his room for growth from both his opponents and his coach Luke Walton.
Speaking to the media after the game, Walton stated ‘Alonzo, the way he plays the game, it’s such a feel thing for him that I think he was out there feeling it out,’ Walton said. “He likes to take his time and not force things, which is good and what becoming a player in this league is about.”
Clippers focal point Patrick Beverley guarded Ball for the contest and shared his observations on the prodigy.
“He’s a great talent, but he’s got to go through the tough times,” Beverley said. “He’ll be better for it.”
Just how bad was Ball? He was one-for-six from the floor resulting in three points, two turnovers, nine rebounds and four assists.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia 76ers’ rookie-in-theory, Ben Simmons went off for a double-double against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday.
His final 18 points, 10 rebounds and five assists stat line suggests that he will live up to the buzz after missing the start of his career in 2016 after a brutal pre-season injury.
He told ESPN that he used his entire arsenal to gain an advantage against a skilled Washington squad.
“I was using my size and speed to my advantage, and I think I did a good job at that,” he said. “I could have done it a few more times, maybe we would have won, but we’re gonna get there. It would have been better if we got the win, but it’s the first game. We have many more to go.”
For now, all that matters is both the 76ers and the Lakers lost in their debuts. But moving forward each team is aware of just how crucial each youngster is to their future.
Watch: NBA Week 1 Rookie Highlights